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On March 20, just before US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India, 35 Kashmiri Sikhs were killed by unidentified gunmen in the village of Chattisinghpora in South Kashmir. The government blamed Muslim rebels, but Kashmiris and prominent Sikh leaders (and later US officials) hold that the attack was orchestrated by Indian intelligence agencies to seek US sympathy and to delegitimize Kashmiri struggle. The notion of the Indian role in the massacre turned into a fact when a few days after the Chattisinghpora massacre, Indian forces abducted, killed, and mutilated the bodies of five local Kashmiris, falsely accusing them of being foreign Islamist militants responsible for the massacre of the Sikhs. A week later, Indian forces killed nine Kashmiris who demanded an impartial investigation. Subsequent tests of the exhumed corpses proved that the five dead “foreign militants” were actually local civilians who were killed in a fake encounter.

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