24-hour deadline set for hostages
Saturday 09 September 1995
Kashmiri kidnappers vowed to kill four Western hostages, including two Britons, by tonight unless India releases several jailed Kashmiri militants in exchange, according to a communique reportedly issued by the Al-Faran guerrillas to two local newspapers.
Some doubts exist over the authenticity of this latest ultimatum, but Indian authorities and Western diplomats are responding to it seriously. The communique warned yesterday that "We will kill all the four foreign hostages if the authorities fail to announce the release of our jailed militants by Saturday evening." For two months, Al-Faran has been holding captive, high in the Himalayas, two British trekkers - Keith Mangan, 33, from Tooting, and Paul Wells, 23, from Nottingham - along with an American and a German.
Al-Faran cut off radio contact with a negotiator last Monday, convinced that Indian authorities were stalling and the Indians are worried the guerrillas may have lost patience.
Death-threats have come and gone during the Kashmir hostage crisis, now entering its third month. But if this latest communique is genuine, the kidnappers may not back down. India and Al-Faran have hardened their attitude over the past week, with the kidnappers demanding nothing less than the release of the top four jailed Kashmiri rebel commanders in a trade for the hostages' lives. "Al-Faran's demands have been entirely unreasonable," said one Indian government spokesman. "We cannot agree."
The government's room for manoeuvre also has been cut, with right-wing Hindu parties accusing the Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao, of being too soft on the Muslim separatists of Kashmir.
In the latest communique, Al-Faran dismissed the government's attitude as "very irresponsible" and added that "the government should announce the release of our jailed militants without mentioning number. The exchange of hostages could be discussed later. We will wait until tomorrow evening. We will take the extreme step after the expiry of deadline and the authorities will be responsible for it."
A contingent of foreign anti-terrorist experts, including the SAS, are in India reportedly advising their governments on whether or not a commando raid could save the hostages or not. Indian government sources said that rescue plans were shelved for as long as the kidnappers kept talking.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
California teacher appears to have hanged herself in her classroom
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 business...
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...