AMRITSAR, Punjab, India: April 29, Reuter: Unknown hit squads killed 16 people, including three teenagers, in overnight attacks in the North Indian State of Punjab Police said on Friday.

Their deaths brought the toll from secessionist violence in the Sikh majority state to 730 so far this year, compared with 283 in the first four months of 1987.

Several groups of gunmen swooped on villages in the Amritsar district and pulled intended victims from their homes to shot with automatic rifles, police said. The dead included Sikhs and Hindus.

Police said the freedom fighters who want an independent Sikh homeland in prosperous, wheat growing Punjab, have become more selective this year in their attacks, targeting prominent Hindus and anyone suspected of police links.

The attackers shot dead five Hindus at Rampura village in what they said was retaliation for the deaths of Sikhs in police custody.


Gunmen slipped into Bhaini Mattoo village and dragged a father and son and two other relatives from their houses before shooting them.

Gunmen struck in four other places, shooting dead six people, and stabbed another man to death.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 6, 1988