AMRITSAR, INDIA: Gunmen fired indiscriminately on people at a grain market in the northern Indian state of Punjab late Tuesday, killing at least 20 and wounding 60, a senior police official said.

J.P. Virdhi, senior superintendent of police in the Patiala district, said 10 or 12 militants entered the main grain market in Sirhind town, 190 kilometers southeast of Amritsar, and opened fire,

He said 17 people died at the scene and three died later in hospital. Of those killed, 14 were Hindus, four Sikhs and two Christians. The victims were mostly laborers from the eastern state of Bihar who were working late into the night, loading grain.

He said 20 of those injured were in serious condition. Seven women and five children were among others injured,

Police blamed the militants for the attack Sikhs have been agitating for a separate homeland since 1982, charging discrimination by the majority Hindu community which forms more than 80 per cent of India’s population.

More than 1,920 people, mostly civilians have died in this campaign.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 23, 1988