Gunmen slay 24 in Hindu village in India-controlled Kashmir
The Jerusalem Post

24 March 2003

Unidentified gunmen massacred 24 people in a Hindu village in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir early Monday, police said.

The attack occurred in Nadimarg, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir state. Attackers overpowered guards at the village and snatched their weapons away, police said.

More than a dozen Islamic militant groups in Jammu-Kashmir, the only state with a Muslim majority, have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India, or its merger with mostly Muslim Pakistan.

The attack Monday came one day after unidentified gunmen assassinated an Islamic guerrilla leader who was sacked from Kashmir's biggest rebel group and was holding secret talks with the Indian government.

The assassination of Abdul Majid Dar, former Kashmir commander of the Hezb-ul Mujahedeen, was a setback for Indian security authorities, who were trying to persuade him to take up a possible political role in the state wracked by 13 years of separatist violence.

Dar was fatally shot in the town of Sopore, a separatist stronghold 55 kilometers (35 miles) north of Srinagar.

India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the 13-year insurgency, which has killed more than 61,000 people. 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.