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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 12:15 UK

Kashmir girl fights off militants

By Binoo Joshi
BBC News, Jammu

Rukhsana Kauser said she 'fired endlessly'
Rukhsana Kauser said she 'fired endlessly'

A teenage girl says she killed a militant with his own gun after insurgents attacked their home in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Three militants stormed into Rukhsana Kauser's home in a remote village in Jammu region on Monday and started beating her parents in front of her.

Ms Kauser, 18, and her brother turned on the gunmen, killing one and injuring two more. Police praised their courage.

One of the militants wanted to marry Ms Kauser against her will, police said.

The militants escaped and are now being sought by police who are using their blood trails as clues.

'Fired endlessly'

The insurgents went to the house looking for Ms Kauser but her father, Noor Hussain, resisted their demands, Rajouri district senior police superintendent Shafqat Watali told the BBC.

I had never touched a rifle before this, let alone fired one - but I had seen heroes firing in films
Rukhsana Kauser

Three gunmen then entered the house and attacked Ms Kauser's parents, while four other militants remained outside.

"My parents told me to hide under the bed and then opened the door," Ms Kauser told the BBC.

"Without saying anything they [the militants] started beating my parents and my uncle. They beat them so badly that my parents fell on the ground. I could not see that and pounced on one of the militants while my brother hit him with an axe," she said.

"I thought I should try the bold act of encountering militants before dying."

Ms Kauser said she grabbed one of the militants by the hair and banged his head against the wall. When he fell down she hit him with an axe, before snatching his rifle.

"I fired endlessly. The militant commander got 12 shots on his body."

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Her brother, Eijaz, 19, grabbed one of the other militants' guns and also began shooting.

Ms Kauser said the exchanges of gunfire with the militants had gone on for four hours.

"I had never touched a rifle before this, let alone fired one. But I had seen heroes firing in films on TV and I tried the same way. Somehow I gathered courage - I fired and fought till dead tired."

'Bravery'

Police identified the militant commander as Abu Osama, who they say was a member of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba group and had been active in the Rajouri area for the past five years.

Local residents told police that he wanted to marry Ms Kauser - and was prepared to do so forcibly.

Rajouri police superintendent Shajqat Watali praised what he said was the "exemplary bravery" of Ms Kauser and her brother.

"The reaction by these teenagers was extraordinary."

There are now fears the family could face retaliatory attacks, so they have been given police protection.

But Ms Kauser wants more: "We cannot live here in this village. They should relocate us to a safer place in Rajouri town or elsewhere. The militants are not going to leave us after this embarrassment in which a top commander was killed."



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