SRINAGAR, July 17 (2001): Thirty-seven people have been killed in fresh violence in Kashmir, bringing the death toll since the eve of a summit between India and Pakistan to nearly 90, authorities said on Monday.
The toll was the highest in a three-day period since India called off its ceasefire in May against Muslim rebels fighting New Delhi’s rule in the Himalayan state, police figures show.
Some 56 rebels, 14 security personnel and 18 civilians were killed in violence since late on Friday, just before Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf arrived in India for a summit with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee focusing on Kashmir’s future.
The summit ended late on Monday with no agreement on how the two countries will move forward to try end the violence.
The latest bloodshed reflected a new offensive by Indian authorities since the ceasefire ended to flush out separatist guerrillas.
Police said security forces had killed eight guerrillas in gunbattles since Sunday evening in Kupwara town, 90 kms (55 miles) northwest of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
Five Indian soldiers were killed and 13 others wounded when guerrillas attacked an army camp in Kupwara town in north Kashmir, police said.
A Pakistan-based group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, claimed responsibility for the attack on Magam camp northwest of Srinagar.
“One of our suicide fighters, Abu Hamza, attacked the camp and inflicted heavy casualties.Hamza was able to escape,” Lashkar-e-Taiba spokesman Abu Usama said.
In a separate incident, two rebels, a soldier and four civilians died in a gunbattle in the neighbouring district of Baramulla, police said.
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