PAHALGAM, Aug 6 (2002): Suspected militants killed nine Hindus and wounded 31, as they slept in tents along a pilgrimage trail in Indian Kashmir, in a dawn raid on Tuesday that New Delhi blamed on a Pakistan-based group.
The attack near Pahalgam, the base camp for pilgrims making a gruelling 50-km (30 mile) trek to a cave shrine high in the Himalayas, was the bloodiest in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir since militants killed 28 Hindu slum-dwellers last month.
The disputed Himalayan region where Indian forces are fighting an Islamic separatist revolt is at the root of a military standoff between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan which nearly went to war in June.
Defying tight security, three or four militants ran out from a dense forest and struck while the pilgrims slept. The guerrillas hurled grenades to divert attention before opening fire with automatic weapons, security officials said.
“When the firing stopped I came out of the tent and people were lying in pools of blood everywhere,” said one pilgrim, Rakesh Kumar. “The firing lasted for an hour,” a wounded survivor said from his hospital bed.
Security forces killed one of the attackers, whose body was found with an AK-47, rounds of ammunition and a grenade strewn alongside, the police officer said. A search was on for the other attackers, believed to have fled into the forest.
(For details write to email@example.com)