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DATE=9/1/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=KASHMIR / VIOLENCE (S-ONLY) NUMBER=2-253324 BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: At least 17 people have been killed in the past 24-hours in India's troubled province of Jammu and Kashmir in clashes between Indian security forces and militant separatists. The killings occurred as India and Pakistan also traded artillery and mortar fire along the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between the two countries. VOA's Jim Teeple reports tension and violence is rising in Kashmir ahead of national elections, which begin on Sunday. Text: Police sources in Srinigar, the summer capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state, say two army soldiers and eight militants were killed early Wednesday in Doda district and six militants and one soldier were killed late Tuesday in a clash near the border district of Kupwara. The Indian Army says at least a dozen Pakistani soldiers were also killed after Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged mortar and artillery fire along the Line of Control in Jammu late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Tensions in the troubled province are high as India is preparing to hold national elections. More than thirty people have been killed in the past week in Kashmir as separatists have stepped up their attacks. Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief Gurbachan Jagat says his forces will be able to ensure the elections take place. // JAGAT ACT // We are quite confident we will be able to hold a peaceful election. // END ACT // Staggered voting throughout India begins on Sunday and will continue for a month on a weekly basis. (Signed) NEB/JT/LTD/KL 01-Sep-1999 07:38 AM EDT (01-Sep-1999 1138 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .