Five killed in raid on Kashmir radio station

Violence flared in disputed Kashmir on Saturday, leaving three separatists dead

    Indian security forces killed three separatist fighters in disputed Kashmir on Saturday as they tried to storm the main state-run radio and television station, police said.


    A senior official was quoted as saying two security personnel were also killed and six wounded after the fighters blew up a car loaded with explosives outside the building in the heart of Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. 

    Indian security forces stand near
    the damaged gate of Kashmir's
    radio station.

    "They then tried to storm the complex but were stopped by security forces," the official said.


    One fighter was killed at the entrance and two were chased and killed in a gunbattle outside a nearby mosque, he said.


    Security forces searched for a possible fourth fighter.


    "No one got into the radio or television complex. The area was thoroughly searched," said paramilitary spokesman T. Acharya after the search.
    Kashmir is at the heart of the decades-long dispute between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir is mainly Hindu India's only Muslim majority state. The state's chief minister condemned the attack and vowed to work for peace.


    "It is our solemn pledge to the people to restore peace with dignity in the state and we would continue to work for it with people's support," Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syed said in a statement.
    Two Muslim pro-Pakistani groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir claimed responsibility.


    A spokesman for the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, based in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, said his group had carried out the attack.


    A less well known Pro-Pakistani group, the Al-Madina Regiment, had earlier called newspaper offices in Srinagar to claim responsibility.
    The same group said they had carried out a human bomb attack north of Srinagar on Friday in which three soldiers, a civilian and two fighters were killed.
    New Delhi has accused Islamabad of arming and training the separatists and sending them across a ceasefire line to foment violence in Indian Kashmir.


    Pakistan denies the charges but says it provides moral and diplomatic support to what it calls a Kashmiri freedom struggle. 
    The two countries fought two of their three wars over the region, but have recently toned down their rhetoric, with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee last week urging talks to end the bloody 13-year revolt in Indian-ruled Kashmir.

    But violence raged across the region.
    Fourteen people, including two children, were wounded when a bomb exploded near a water treatment plant soon after a visit by the state's finance minister, police said.
    "Five minutes after Muzaffar Baig left the site at Azad Gunj a huge explosion took place injuring 14 civilians," a police official said, adding five of the injured were in serious condition.
    The Azad Gunj area is also north of Srinagar. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.


    Police said a soldier and eight separatists were killed in other gunbattles across the Kashmir region, and five soldiers were wounded when suspected fighters set off a landmine in the Kupwara district, northwest of Srinagar.


    A series of attacks in the Himalayan region on Friday killed 10 people.
    Earlier police said in a statement 77 people, including 48 separatists and 10 security personnel, have been killed and more than 70 wounded in violence in the last week.



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