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Army Kills 9 Kashmir Villagers

January 31, 1998

JAMMU, India (AP) _ The army fired on a group of angry villagers in India’s troubled northern state of Kashmir, killing nine, police said today.

At least 40 others were injured in the clash Friday in Navapachi, a remote village 225 miles northeast of the state’s winter capital, Jammu. The dead were six men, two women and a child.

The protest followed the arrest of three villagers whom the army suspected of being Muslim separatist rebels. Nearly 60 residents stoned the soldiers after they refused to release the suspects, a local police officer said on condition of anonymity.

The villagers said the three had no links with the militants.

Rebels in Kashmir, the only predominantly Muslim state in mostly Hindu India, want independence or annexation to Muslim Pakistan. Since 1989, more than 15,000 people have died in the insurgency.

The army said in a statement today it had ordered an investigation into why the troops opened fire.

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