Fears for aid workers as Kashmiri violence festers - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
October 17, 2005

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Fears for aid workers as Kashmiri violence festers

-18/10/05

As the United Nations World Food Programme announced that up to half a million earthquake survivors have yet to receive any aid at all, relief agencies have been warned about an escalation of activity among militant secessionists following the assassination of an Indian government minister.

The Kashmir region has been bitterly disputed between India and Pakistan for 50 years. Despite appeals from regional politicians and international agencies such as Christian Aid, militants have carried out a number of attacks since the quake stuck struck on 8 October.

Today Ghulam Nabi Lone, education minister in the Indian-controlled area was shot at home on and died en route to hospital. Two different armed groups, Al Mansoorian and the Islamic Front, claimed responsibility for his death.

Yesterday a local Communist Party leader was assassinated. The authorities have also killed around 25 Islamic militants.

Insurgents claim the government is using attention on the areaís natural disaster to carry out a security sweep.

But both Indian Kashmir government and opposition parties are united in condemning what they see as the militantsí deliberate attempts to hamper the relief effort.

In the immediate aftermath of the quake disaster, Christian Aidís Asia head, Robin Greenwood, said: ìSouth-east Afghanistan is a conflict zone. US forces are fighting Al Qaeda and Kashmir is an area of dispute, tension and military activity between the Pakistani and Indian forces. It is vital in both these areas that relief work takes precedence over conflict.î

Some 40,000 people are known to have been killed by the earthquake in Pakistani Kashmir and over 1,400 in the Indian administered territory.

A strong aftershock also hit the area today, leading to widespread panic among survivors who are facing a serious aid shortage, in spite of pledges of millions of dollars in assistance from more than a dozen countries.

ìThe aid agencies have managed to give some help to hundreds of thousands of people,î says James Morris, executive director of the World Food Programme. "However, there are an estimated half a million more people out there in desperate need, who no one has yet managed to reach.î

Find books now:

Fears for aid workers as Kashmiri violence festers

-18/10/05

As the United Nations World Food Programme announced that up to half a million earthquake survivors have yet to receive any aid at all, relief agencies have been warned about an escalation of activity among militant secessionists following the assassination of an Indian government minister.

The Kashmir region has been bitterly disputed between India and Pakistan for 50 years. Despite appeals from regional politicians and international agencies such as Christian Aid, militants have carried out a number of attacks since the quake stuck struck on 8 October.

Today Ghulam Nabi Lone, education minister in the Indian-controlled area was shot at home on and died en route to hospital. Two different armed groups, Al Mansoorian and the Islamic Front, claimed responsibility for his death.

Yesterday a local Communist Party leader was assassinated. The authorities have also killed around 25 Islamic militants.

Insurgents claim the government is using attention on the area's natural disaster to carry out a security sweep.

But both Indian Kashmir government and opposition parties are united in condemning what they see as the militants' deliberate attempts to hamper the relief effort.

In the immediate aftermath of the quake disaster, Christian Aid's Asia head, Robin Greenwood, said: 'South-east Afghanistan is a conflict zone. US forces are fighting Al Qaeda and Kashmir is an area of dispute, tension and military activity between the Pakistani and Indian forces. It is vital in both these areas that relief work takes precedence over conflict.'

Some 40,000 people are known to have been killed by the earthquake in Pakistani Kashmir and over 1,400 in the Indian administered territory.

A strong aftershock also hit the area today, leading to widespread panic among survivors who are facing a serious aid shortage, in spite of pledges of millions of dollars in assistance from more than a dozen countries.

'The aid agencies have managed to give some help to hundreds of thousands of people,' says James Morris, executive director of the World Food Programme. "However, there are an estimated half a million more people out there in desperate need, who no one has yet managed to reach.'

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