- Title: INDIA: FOREIGN TOURISTS ARE STILL VISITING KASHMIR
- Date: 20th August 1995
- Summary: SRINAGAR, JAMMU AND KASHMIR, INDIA (AUGUST 20, 1995) (RTV) STREET SCENES IN TOWN (4 SHOTS) 0.21
- Embargoed: 26th May 2015 11:49
- Location: INDIA
- Country: India
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVA4ZRU9QQHUSKYS5Z4WQ0HP6U4
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Foreign tourists are still visiting the Kashmir Valley in north India despite the recent kidnapping of five Western tourists by Al-Faran guerrillas and the discovery of the decapitated body of Norwegian hostage Hans Christian Ostroe last week.
In Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital of Srinagar on Sunday (August 20), a Kashmiri militant group opposed to the kidnapping said it had sent its gunmen to comb the Himalayan mountains for the four surviving hostages.
Leaders of the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon group, often regarded with suspicion by some Kashmiri separatists for their alleged links with the Indian government, told a news conference that they planned to disarm and arrest the Al-Faran militants.
"We have sent a group of 25 commandos to track these people in Ashmuqam," Ansar ul Haq, the group's deputy commander, told reporters at Srinagar's Ahdoo's Hotel.
Ashmuqam is a small mountain village 65 km (40 miles) southeast of Srinagar, where a peasant woman found Ostroe's body.
Al-Faran has threatened to kill the remaining four hostages, a German, two Britons and an American, if the Indian government does not free 15 jailed militants soon.
Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon, which opposes total independence for Kashmir but wants a plebiscite to determine whether it will go with India or Pakistan, denies criticism by rival groups that it was backed by the Indian government.
Haq estimated the Al-Faran had 20 guerrillas.
"We intend to first disarm them and then arrest them," he said.
Indian newspapers said on Sunday the Al-Faran had changed its hideouts frequently, on one occasion four times in a day, following warnings that Indian commandos were planning a military raid to rescue the hostages.
The Indian government has asked the guerrillas to furnish proof that the captives are well.
Government officials said a group of Western specialists experienced in handling kidnappings met the governor of India's Jammu and Kashmir state, K.V. Krishna Rao, on Saturday to discuss the various options.
As efforts to end the crisis continue, tourists staying around Srinagar's beautiful lake Dal say they are not deterred by the kidnappings, treating the incident as a one-off.
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