Gunmen Slay 24 in Hindu Town in Kashmir
By MUJTABA ALI AHMAD
SRINAGAR, India (AP - 24 March) - Gunmen killed 24 people in a Hindu village in India-controlled Kashmir early Monday, police said.
The attack occurred in Nadimarg, about 30 miles south of summer capital Srinagar. The gunmen overpowered village guards and grabbed their weapons, police said.
The attack came a day after gunmen assassinated an Islamic guerrilla leader who was expelled from Kashmir's biggest rebel group for holding secret talks with the government.
Abdul Majid Dar, former Kashmir commander of the Hezb-ul Mujahedeen, was fatally shot in the town of Sopore, a separatist stronghold 35 miles north of Srinagar.
Indian security authorities were trying to persuade Dar to take up a political role in the state wracked by 13 years of separatist violence.
More than a dozen Islamic militant groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence, or its merger with mostly Muslim Pakistan.
India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the insurgency, which has killed more than 61,000 people in India's only Muslim-majority state. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it only supports the rebels' cause and does not give them any material aid.
The South Asian nuclear rivals fought two of their three wars over control of Kashmir, which both claim in its entirety.