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The BBC's Altaf Hussein in Srinigar
The situation is worse in security terms
 real 28k

Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Kashmir census begins
Soldiers in Srinagar market
A census has not held for security reasons
The government in India has begun a census in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the first in 20 years.

More than 20,000 government workers have been deployed to conduct the census across the state.

But the exercise is being delayed in two districts - Leh and Kargil - due to bad weather.

A census is conducted in India every 10 years - the last one was in 1991.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir was left out due to separatist violence.

Observers say security in the state is much worse now - but unlike in 1991, there are no more long curfews or general strikes called by the militants.

Seeking co-operation

The state's head of census operations, Feroz Ahmed, said his staff would seek co-operation from people explaining that the exercise is in their interest as it helps the government in drawing up its development plans.

He said for the first three weeks the census takers would mark houses, industrial and commercial buildings and record the availability of electricity, water and other basic facilities.

Mr Ahmed said the actual counting of the population would begin in the second phase in September.

Frontline clash

Soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir say they have killed six infiltrators on the frontline with Pakistan.

Indian soldiers
Indian soldiers killed six infiltrators
A defence ministry spokesman said the six men were killed in the Tangdar sector on the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

"A large quantity of arms and ammunition including one universal machine gun and two AK rifles were recovered from them," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said those killed were militants belonging to the Al Barq group.

Meanwhile, police said a member of the Hizbul Mujahideen group was killed in an explosion in Tral town.

They said he was trying to lay a land mine when it went off.

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See also:

15 May 00 | South Asia
Blast kills Kashmiri minister
19 Jan 00 | South Asia
On the defensive in Kashmir
05 Jul 99 | South Asia
Pakistan and the Kashmir militants
15 Jul 99 | South Asia
Flashpoint Kashmir: Special Report
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