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Press Release on a CNN report

November 29, 1999

The attention of the Embassy of India has been drawn to a report on the CNN network by correspondent Jane Arraf on violence in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, which was broadcast on television on November 26 and posted on the CNN website on November 27.

  The CNN report has quoted relatives of young Kamaran Ashraf whose parents are alleged to have been killed by fire from security forces as they drove past a bunker in a rickshaw on a holiday evening. The same report also said that India's Border Security Force was investigating the incident and quoted authorities to the effect that the Ashraf couple was caught in a crossfire with militants.

India has for over a decade been battling terrorist elements in Jammu & Kashmir who are armed, financed and supported from across the border and Line of Control. The victims of such terrorist violence have been both security forces as well as a large number of civilians, many of whom have fled the state to take refuge in other parts of India. The terrorists include members of Osama bin Laden's Al Queida organisation based in Afghanistan, and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba based in Pakistan. Al Queida and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen are among those listed as foreign terrorist organisations by the US State Department. Lashkar-e-Toiba is reportedly under review for being included in this list.

The allegation that the regrettable death of the Ashraf couple resulted from deliberate firing by the Indian security forces is both unsubstantiated and unfair, especially since the investigation into the incident is yet to conclude. Such mindless violence is being perpetrated by armed terrorists against whom the people of the state are afraid to speak out for fear of further retribution. The international community needs to be sensitive to this reality and condemn the heinous acts of violence by terrorists and their sponsors from across the border.