Avalanche hits Indian military camp in Kashmir

At least 15 Indian soldiers were killed after an avalanche smashed into a military training camp near the country's disputed border with Pakistan.

Avalanche hits Indian military camp in Kashmir

At least 15 Indian soldiers were killed after an avalanche smashed into a military training camp near the country's disputed border with Pakistan on Monday, police and army said.

The accident occurred in the Khilanmarg area near Gulmarg, a ski resort visited by thousands of people, including some foreigners, every winter.

Officials said there was little chance of any tourist being trapped as the avalanche was triggered at an altitude higher than the popular skiing slopes.

The avalanche hit the Indian army's High Altitude Warfare School in northwest Kashmir, a rugged area at an altitude of 2,730 metres (9,000 feet) near a military line that divides the Himalayan region between India and Pakistan.

Army spokesman Col. Vineet Sood said 70 soldiers had been rescued but about half a dozen could still be trapped.

Seventeen soldiers are in critical condition, police said.

The injured were admitted in a local hospital and rescue workers were struggling to find survivors amid heavy snowfall.

The government weather forecaster said snow and sleet would continue to hit Kashmir mountains for the next two days.

Avalanches occur frequently in Kashmir.

Heavy snow blocked Kashmir's main highway, the only road link to the rest of the country, for the third day on Monday.

"It is snowing heavily and there is fog. Weather is hampering rescue operations," senior police official A.Q. Manhas said.

More than a dozen groups have fought Indian forces since 1989, seeking independence for the Muslim-majority state or its merger with Pakistan.

In 1948, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a referendum for Kashmir to determine whether the Himalayan region should be part of India and Pakistan. Kashmiris say fight against India since it rejected to hold referendum in Kashmiri territory.

Agencies
 

Last Mod: 08 Şubat 2010, 18:05
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