Mine blast by suspected militants kills four in Kashmir

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The Independent Online

Separatist militants triggered a land mine explosion in Kashmir today, killing one paramilitary officer and three soldiers, police said.

Separatist militants triggered a land mine explosion in Kashmir today, killing one paramilitary officer and three soldiers, police said.

The soldiers of the Border Security Force died on the scene in Tral, a town 60 kilometres ( 37 miles) southeast of Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital. The officer died on his way to the hospital.

On Wednesday, the militants blew up an army vehicle with a land mine, wounding eight soldiers, at Keegam Sangam, a town 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Srinagar, police said.

Three of the wounded were in critical condition, police said.

Dozens of guerrilla groups are fighting Indian security forces to separate predominantly Muslim Kashmir from India. According to the government, more than 30,000 people have been killed since the fighting began in 1989. Human rights groups say the death toll is around 60,000.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced a unilateral cease-fire on November 28 as a precursor to holding peace talks with the separatists and possibly with Pakistan.

The militant groups, however, rejected the offer and said they would intensify their attack on the Indian security forces. The cease-fire is due to expire on Jan. 26.

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