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World - Asia/Pacific

Indian minister says Pakistan tortured, killed soldiers

Indian soldiers salute the bodies of six comrades returned by Pakistan

Kashmir conflict

June 11, 1999
Web posted at: 2:05 p.m. EDT (1805 GMT)

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India's foreign minister on Friday accused Pakistan of torturing and killing six Indian soldiers, whose bodies were returned to India on Thursday.

Pakistan denied the accusation leveled by Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh.

"These soldiers were tortured and subjected to torture repeatedly," Singh said.

The junior officer and five enlisted men were part of India's offensive against what it says are Pakistani-backed guerrillas who have infiltrated India's portion of Kashmir. Pakistan controls the remaining one-third of Kashmir, which both countries claim is theirs.

Singh's remarks, made one day before Pakistan's foreign minister is due in India for peace talks, were likely to fuel further outrage among Indians over the fighting.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz is due in New Delhi on Saturday to discuss the fighting with Indian officials. Singh said the talks would take place as planned and the issue of the torture would come up.

Singh said autopsies showed the soldiers' eyes had been gouged with sharp instruments, and some had suffered "compound fractures of the skull with severe loss of brain tissue." One soldier, he said, was shot in the mouth.

"This is not just a breach of norms, this is a crime against humanity," he said.

India has complained repeatedly during the monthlong conflict that Pakistan's army is backing the Muslim militants, a charge Pakistan repeatedly has denied.

Kashmir has been the flash point for two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought since they won independence from Britain in 1947. Both countries tested nuclear weapons last year, making them nuclear powers.

A Pakistani military spokesman said Friday the Indian soldiers were killed inside Pakistani territory. He said the bodies were not recovered for three weeks from the remote area, the home to numerous wild animals.

Aziz went on a trip to Beijing earlier in the week, and India said Singh travels to Beijing next week. China shares a border with Pakistan and India in the Kashmir region.

New Delhi Bureau Chief Satinder Bindra contributed to this report.

India and Pakistan agree to weekend peace talks
June 8, 1999
Hopes for diplomacy recede in Kashmir conflict
June 7, 1999
India resumes airstrikes, ground attacks in Kashmir
June 6, 1999
India delays peace talks amid Pakistan border fighting
Diplomatic efforts stall in Kashmir fighting
June 4, 1999

India Monitor
Contemporary conflicts: Kashmir
Kashmir News Reports
Pakistan Link - The Internet Edition
Kashmir Information Network
The Government of Pakistan
Indian Ministry of External Affairs
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