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Two Hizb fighters among four killed

April 03, 2008


SRINAGAR, April 2: Indian troops have dealt a fresh blow to occupied Kashmir’s main Mujahideen group by killing two of its top commanders during a gun battle that also left a soldier and a civilian dead, police said on Wednesday.

The fighting erupted late Tuesday when Indian troops, backed by counter-insurgency police, raided a hide-out near Srinagar.

“We have killed two top Hizbul Mujahideen commanders,” said Nitish Kumar, the police chief for Anantnag district, where the clash took place.

Hizbul Mujahideen, which wants to fold Indian Kashmir into Pakistan, is the main group fighting Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.

Kumar identified the two commanders as “divisional commander” Aslam Khan, alias Zia-ur-Rehman, and “district commander” Javaid Ahmad Lone, alias Nazar.

The owner of the house where the Kashmiri freedom fighters were hiding also died during the fire fight that lasted for four hours. An Indian soldier died in the initial burst of fighting, Kumar said.

“The killing of two commanders is a serious setback to the Hizbul Mujahideen,” he said.

Last month security forces said they had shot dead three top Hizb commanders and also arrested a leading rebel allegedly involved in nearly 30 killings.

Kashmir is in the grip of an 18-year-old rebellion against Indian rule that has left more than 43,000 people dead by official count.

CALL FOR PROBE: The people of occupied Kashmir urged Amnesty International on Wednesday to help identify human remains in nearly a thousand unmarked graves discovered by a local human rights group over the past year.

The graves were found in cemeteries in 18 villages along a military control line dividing India and Pakistan, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) said in a weekend report after carrying out a year-long survey.

“We appeal to Amnesty International and human rights groups to identify the people buried,” said Shabbir Shah, a leader of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

“This is the tip of the iceberg. A serious survey and investigation will discover more such graveyards where innocent people are buried after security forces killed them.”

Authorities have denied the allegations, saying such reports were intended to malign Indian security forces, and the graves were those of militants killed by them over the years.—Agencies