Militant Muslim Uprising Kills 24

Mar 31, 2003 01:25 PM EST

NEW DELHI -- Tensions rise in the Kashmir region of India as 24 villagers are killed by suspected Muslim militants, March 24. 25 heavily armed militants costumed in police uniforms entered the remote village of Nadimarg to carry out their violence, renewing fears and hostility between India and Pakistan.

"The men overpowered and disarmed the village security guards before firing indiscriminately at the villagers," said A.K. Suri, the police chief in Kashmir, India¡¯s only Muslim majority state.

Among those killed in the attack are two children and eleven women. Indian news channels showed images of a row of corpses, each shrouded in white cloth. The attack was the bloodiest clash between Hindis and Muslims since the state elections last September; a new government took over the state with a promise of ¡°a healing touch¡± of peace for the war torn nation.

L.K. Advani, India's deputy prime minister, planned to visit the village on April 1.

Kashmir has been a center of frequent violence and wars; Pakistani Muslim militants have waged countless wars for thirteen years on the Indian-ruled state. Both countries claim sovereignty over Kashmir. According to officials, more than 35,000 people, including many Chrisitans have died in the conflicts.

By Pauline J.