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23 Die in Kashmir Clashes

June 4, 2001

SRINAGAR, India (AP) _ Islamic rebels battled government troops on three fronts, and threw a grenade at a paramilitary base, in violence that killed 23 people, police said Monday.

The grenade missed the paramilitary Border Security Force bunker, however, and exploded at a crowded bus station in Kashmir on Monday, killing four civilians and wounding 24 others, police said. No officers were hurt.

Militants also battled troops in three separate confrontations that killed 19 people overnight _ 16 militants, a border officer and two civilians, police said.

In one clash in the district of Poonch, 148 miles northwest of Jammu, Kashmir’s winter capital, government soldiers shot and killed 11 militants trying to cross into India from Pakistan, police said.

Two civilians were killed in the crossfire, police said. There were no reports of army casualties.

In a second confrontation, a militant was killed when soldiers fired at rebels trying to enter India through the frontier in Nawshera, police said.

In Doda, 170 miles west of Srinagar, four militants and a Border Security Force officer died in fighting, authorities said.

More than a dozen militant groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence from India. India accuses rival Pakistan of arming and training the militants, a charge Pakistan denies.

The Indian government says nearly 30,000 people have been killed since the insurgency began. Human rights groups put the death toll at twice that number.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they won independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over control of Kashmir.

Update hourly