07/24/2008, 00.00
INDIA - PAKISTAN
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Tension rises in Kashmir, nine dead in two different attacks

A bomb exploded in the middle of a group of migrant workers in Srinagar. According to the police, the objective was a paramilitary squad on patrol, but a witness says that the target was a group of Hindu pilgrims. A former leader of the mujahedin was killed in a second attack.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Nine have died, including women and children, in the new wave of violence that bloodied Kashmir this morning. The first episode took place in Srinagar, the most important city of the autonomous region: a bomb exploded in the middle of a group of migrant workers and their families, killing five people - including two children and a woman - and wounding another 24. According to police sources, the attack was carried out by Islamic fundamentalist militias, who intended to strike a squad of paramilitary troops present in the area, but all of the victims are civilians. A witness present at the moment of the explosion says instead that the real targets of the attack were groups of Hindu pilgrims, waiting to get onto a bus that would take them to the shrine of Amarnath.

The second episode was the result of a targeted execution, which resulted in the assassination of a former rebel leader and three of his family members: his wife, one of his daughters, and a nephew, who was only four years old. Ghulam Hussain, once a leading figure of the militant pro-Pakistan mujahedin group, was killed in the district of Doda, about 170 kilometers south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir.

The fight between Pakistan and India for the control of the region began in 1989, and has caused more than 43,000 deaths. In spite of the peace process begun in 2004, in recent weeks the episodes of violence have picked up again. On Monday, July 21, four people, including two civilians, were killed in two different ambushes. Yesterday, instead, a demonstrator participating in a hunger strike committed suicide by taking poison. K K Sharma had been protesting against the reversal of the decision to give back some forest land to the Hindu sanctuary of Amarnath.

The Hindu extremists will continue with their aggressive demonstrations until the government of Kashmir changes the decision, while the leaders of the revolt are calling for "the population of Jammu to violate the curfew" and take to the streets.

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