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March 20, 2000
35 Sikhs gunned down in KashmirMukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Thirty-five Sikh villagers were gunned down by unidentified gunmen at village Chati Singhpora, 68 kms from Srinagar in South Kashmir late last night, police sources said this morning.
Three Sikh villagers who were critically wounded in the shooting were shifted to Srinagar's Bone and Joint hospital. A police officer in Anantnag told rediff.com that a group of militants in uniform came to the village last night and asked the Sikh villagers to come out of their homes. When the Sikhs stepped out, the militants opened fire on them.
The villagers panicked but the militants continued firing, killing 34 people on the spot. Three villagers who were seriously injured in the shooting were shifted to Srinagar, where one succumbed.
Anantnag district police chief Farooq Ahmed Khan also rushed to the village early this morning along with reinforcements.
A senior police officer said a massive hunt has been mounted to nab the killers. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the massacre. This is for the first time that Sikhs community has been targetted in the valley. Earlier, thousands of Kashmiri pandits migrated to Jammu and other areas after militancy erupted in the valley.
The killings take added significance since they occurred just hours before President Clinton returned to India from Bangladesh. Anticipating trouble, the authorities had sounded a general alert in the Valley on the eve of Clinton's visit.
Meanwhile, a report from Barramullah said heavily armed militants attacked Pattan police station with hand grenades and assault rifles and injured three policemen. The police station building was partially damaged.
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