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At least 22 Hindus massacred in Kashmir

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    At least 22 Hindus massacred in Kashmir Mon May 1, 2006 03:08 AM ET http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=12022026 By Ashok Pahalwan
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2006
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      At least 22 Hindus massacred in Kashmir
      Mon May 1, 2006 03:08 AM ET
      http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=12022026
      By Ashok Pahalwan
      JAMMU, India (Reuters) - Suspected Islamic militants shot dead at least 22
      Hindus in two small villages in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday,
      officials said.

      The massacre, one of the biggest in recent months, took place just days before
      Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holds talks with Kashmiri separatists in
      New Delhi and later travels to the violent region for a "roundtable"
      conference with Kashmiris.

      Militants struck the Hindu-dominated remote mountainous villages in Doda
      district, some 170 km (100 miles) northeast of Jammu, Kashmir's winter
      capital, early on Monday, police said.

      No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Five people,
      among nine wounded, were in critical condition.

      "They (the villagers) were asked to assemble outside the house of the village
      head and later shot dead by the militants," Gulzar Ahmed Qureshi, a top Doda
      official, told Reuters.

      "Yes, they are all Hindus," he added. "This is an unfortunate incident when
      things were looking up for peaceful days ahead."

      One wounded man told Sahara News television channel over the telephone that
      militants had come in the night and asked people to come out of their homes.

      "They took one man from each house. The others they told to go inside. They
      said they would set us free later. After going some distance, they started
      beating us up and then opened fire," the witness said.

      HINDUS FLEE

      Militant violence has increased in Kashmir in recent weeks with the onset of
      summer when snow melts in the region's mountain passes, allowing easier
      movement of militants between the two zones of Kashmir split between nuclear
      rivals India and Pakistan, but claimed in full by both.

      Tens of thousands have been killed in the Himalayan region since an Islamic
      revolt began in 1989 against Indian rule. Thousands of Hindus have fled the
      state over the years.

      Overall violence in the region has fallen due to a peace process between
      Islamabad and New Delhi which began in 2004.

      In a bid to take the peace process forward, Prime Minister Singh is due to
      meet Kashmiri separatists in New Delhi on Wednesday.

      The talks are being seen as an ice-breaker ahead of Singh's "roundtable" with
      Kashmiris in Srinagar, the state's summer capital, later in the month.

      © Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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