|HOME | NEWS | REUTERS | REPORT|
August 2, 2000
Pak, ultra groups deny hand in massacres: Reuters
Kashmiri militant groups on Wednesday denied involvement in a series of massacres in Indian-controlled Kashmir in which 85 people were killed, and accused India of being behind the murders.
"We absolutely have nothing to do with it, we do not kill innocent civilians," Muhammad Usman, acting head of the Muttahida Jihad Council, an umbrella organisation of 16 militant groups, told Reuters from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had blamed Pakistan-backed groups for the massacres, saying they wanted to end moves for peace following a cease-fire announcement last week by a militant group.
The Hizbul Mujahideen, one of the most powerful groups active in Indian-controlled Kashmir, condemned the killings and denied any other militant groups could be involved.
"It is no way the work of any mujahideen [holy warrior] group. It is not possible. We know jihad [ holy war]," said Saleem Hashmi, a spokesman for Hizbul Mujahideen.
Usman also said Kashmiri militant groups were not behind the massacres, adding they could be the work of Indian intelligence agencies.
"India always blames Pakistani organisations but we have always clarified that we do not attack civilians. Our targets are the military, its installations or other strategic points. India is playing different games for the last few days and it may be it's another ploy to mislead the world against Pakistan but we, the mujahideen, do not kill innocent civilians," Usman said.
The Pakistan-based Laskhar-e-Taiba, another powerful militant group, also denied involvement, saying the killing of innocent civilians was against the spirit of its struggle.
"Our jihad is only against Indian forces. Islam does not permit us to kill innocent civilians. It is the Indian secret agencies which are responsible and want the blame to rest on mujahideen's shoulder," said Lashkar spokesman Umair Raza.
Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Muttahida Jihad Council have rejected the cease-fire by Hizbul and refused talks with New Delhi, saying their armed struggle would continue for as long as Indian troops were in Kashmir.
Pakistan also condemned the killings and said the involvement of Indian forces could not be ruled out.
"Pakistan condemns the reported loss of many civilian lives in an attack on August 1 in Indian-held Kashmir," a Foreign Ministry statement said. "Initial reports do not rule out the possibility of the killings resulting from firing by Indian forces."
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK