SRINAGAR, July 16 (1991): Kashmir police said on Tuesday that at least 12 people were feared drowned after a crowd of villagers, trying to cross a river to flee security force raids, crammed onto a boat which sank.
They said about 30 people, fleeing raids on Monday on three villages in the Himalayan foothills near Sopore, some 45 km (30 miles) north of Srinagar, had leapt into the small boat.
At least 18 managed to get to shore when the overloaded boat sank in midstream, leaving 12 missing and feared drowned.
Residents told reporters that militants, battling Indian rule of Kashmir, had attacked a security force patrol near the villages earlier on Monday. Paramilitary reinforcements came to raid the villages and the people fled.
Civil rights groups in the Moslem-majority Kashmir Valley allege that security forces murder, rape and burn villagers’ homes in retaliatory raids after such attacks. Indian authorities admit some excesses but say most of the charges are propaganda.
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