Militant commander killed in J&K

  • Agence France-Presse, PTI, Srinagar
  • |
  • Updated: Nov 18, 2002 22:59 IST
Indian security forces have shot dead two Islamic militants in Kashmir, including a commander, police said Monday. Police said a search party of India's Border Security Force (BSF) was fired at by Muslim militants in the village of Nowpora in the central Kashmir district of Budgam late Sunday, sparking a gunbattle as the troops retaliated.

"In the ensuing gunbattle a militant was killed," a police spokesman said.

The spokesman identified him as Ishfaq and said he was working as "company commander" for the region's dominant rebel group Hizbul Mujahedin.

Another militant was shot dead overnight in the northern Kashmir district of Kupwara, police said.

The slain militant belonged to pan-Islamic group Lashkar-e-Taiba - one of the two groups India blamed for attacking its Parliament in December.

More than 37,500 people have died in Jammu and Kashmir since the violence erupted in the state in 1989.

Kashmir's new chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who came to power after elections in September and October, has said he wants to give a "healing touch" to the state.

He has started releasing arrested separatist leaders and says he will work towards unconditional dialogue between separatists and the Indian government.

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