News

DATE=7/14/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251736 TITLE=INDIA / KASHMIR (L) BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: INDIAN COMMANDOES HAVE RESCUED CIVILIAN HOSTAGES TAKEN BY MUSLIM SEPARATIST MILITANTS AT A PARAMILITARY CAMP IN KASHMIR. MEANWHILE INDIA IS CONDUCTING RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS TO VERIFY THE WITHDRAWAL OF ISLAMIC FIGHTERS FROM INDIAN KASHMIR. ANJANA PASRICHA REPORTS FROM NEW DELHI. TEXT: A COMMANDO FORCE STORMED A HIGH-SECURITY PARAMILITARY CAMP EARLY WEDNESDAY AT BANDIPORE NORTH OF THE KASHMIRI CAPITAL, SRINAGAR, AND RESCUED 12 HOSTAGES FROM FOUR FAMILIES. THREE MILITANTS WHO HAD TAKEN THE HOSTAGES WERE KILLED IN THE ASSAULT. THE MILITANTS HAD OVERRUN THE CAMP ON TUESDAY AFTER KILLING A TOP POLICE OFFICER AND SOLDIERS GUARDING HIM. NEW DELHI SAYS THIS IS THE WORST INCIDENT OF TERRORIST VIOLENCE IN KASHMIR IN THE LAST THREE YEARS. IT FEARS THERE MAY BE AN UPSURGE IN TERRORIST ACTIVITY AS ISLAMIC FIGHTERS WITHDRAW FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF KASHMIR. MEANWHILE DEFENSE SPOKESMAN COLONEL BIRKRAM SINGH SAYS INDIAN FORCES ARE MOVING FORWARD SLOWLY TO TAKE OVER POSITIONS BEING VACATED BY ISLAMIC FIGHTERS. ///INSERT SINGH/// THE MOVE IS BEING DELIBERATELY UNDERTAKEN IN A VERY, VERY SLOW, SYSTEMATIC FASHION AND THIS IS PRIMARILY TO OBVIATE ANY CASUALTIES ON ACCOUNT OF THE MINES OR BOOBY TRAPS THE ENEMY MAY HAVE LAID WHILE FALLING BACK FROM THE POSITIONS OCCUPIED BY HIM . ///END SINGH/// A STRATEGIC INDIAN MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY THAT HAD BEEN TARGETED BY THE FIGHTERS IS NOW COMING UNDER HEAVY ARTILLERY SHELLING . INDIAN OFFICIALS SAY THE FIRE IS A TACTIC TO COVER THE RETREATING GUERRILLAS. THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE FIGHTERS BEGAN SUNDAY, AND INDIA SAYS MUST BE COMPLETED BY FRIDAY MORNING. ATTENTION IS NOW FOCUSING ON HOW TO DEFEND THE KASHMIR PEAKS IN THE FUTURE. THE INDIAN ARMY IS CONSIDERING ESTABLISHING SOME PERMANENT MILITARY POSTS ON THE MOUNTAINS, WHICH UNTIL NOW WERE UNMANNED IN THE COLD WINTER MONTHS. OFFICIALS SAY AN YEAR-ROUND PRESENCE OF TROOPS MAY BE NECESSARY TO PREVENT FUTURE INFILTRATION. THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO BEGUN TO ASSESS THE HEAVY COST OF THE TWO-MONTH CONFLICT. NEWSPAPER REPORTS SAY THE GOVERNMENT MAY LEVY A TAX ON CORPORATE AND PERSONAL INCOMES TO COVER THE COST OF THE MILITARY OFFENSIVE. BUT STOCKMARKETS HAVE BEEN UPBEAT SINCE THE KASHMIR CRISIS APPEARED TO RECEDE. INDIAN STOCK MARKETS HAVE GAINED MORE THAN FIVE PERCENT THIS WEEK AFTER THE FIGHTERS BEGAN TO WITHDRAW FROM THE HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS. (SIGNED) NEB/AP/PLM 14-Jul-99 6:17 AM EDT (1017 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .