SRINAGAR, Jan 13: Indian troops shot dead 13 freedom fighters including two alleged Dutch guerillas as the police here arrested six chief activists of Kashmir’s main alliance, officials said on Sunday.
A civilian also died in violence in the disputed Himalayan state, the police said.
Indian security forces claimed that two of the slain militants were from the Netherlands and said they were gunned down after they attacked a patrol on Sunday in Srinagar.
The two were shot dead near a camp housed in a hotel in the Konikhan area of Srinagar, a spokesman for India’s Border Security Force said.
“Armed with knives the two attacked a BSF patrol party, injuring two of our men,” the spokesman said.
“Alert BSF personnel guarding the gate of the hotel shot the two dead,” he said.
The BSF spokesman identified them as “el-Bakiolli Ahmed” and “el-Hussuowi Khaliq” and said they held Dutch passports.
The pair had recently exchanged $200 at a foreign exchange bureau in Srinagar, he said.
Militants rarely attack security forces with knives, with most preferring automatic assault rifles or grenades. “This may be part of their changed strategy,” the BSF spokesman said.
The two had arrived in Srinagar on Jan 6 from New Delhi, which they had reached on Dec 26 from Amsterdam via Amman, and were staying at a houseboat on Srinagar’s Dal Lake named “Happy New Year.”
“Every morning they used to go for prayers to a neighbouring mosque and return,” said Manzoor Ahmed, the houseboat owner.
Local police have launched an investigation.
Five members of Kashmir’s Hizbul Mujahideen group were, meanwhile, shot dead in the past 24 hours in separate gunbattles in the southern Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Doda, a police spokesman said.
Two of them were from Pakistan, he claimed.
Six other Mujahideen killed by Indian forces in the districts of Anantnag and Kupwara Saturday night, while Mujahideen killed a civilian elsewhere in the Valley.
Police in pre-dawn raids, meanwhile, arrested six key functionaries of the APHC.
The raids came hours after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf vowed continuation of moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiris.
Those arrested by the police include Bashir Ahmed Bhat, general secretary of pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, which is part of the APHC.
APHC spokesman Sheikh Abdul Rashid was also arrested at his Srinagar residence.
Two more senior functionaries Ghulam Nabi Saumji and Mukhtair Ahmed were among those arrested by police from Anantnag.—AFP