CHANDIGARH, India, May 18, Reuter: Gunmen yelling separatist slogans slaughtered 30 Hindu canal diggers in another bloody revenge attack for the paramilitary siege of the sacred Sikh Golden Temple, police said on Wednesday.

Police said the gunmen left a note at the site saying the attack was in retaliation for the siege.

Survivor Kali Ram told Reuters from his hospital bed that some 70 labourers were told to leave their brick and straw huts about 35 km from Chandigarh, the capital of the north Indian state of Punjab, lined up and then shot.

Police said the grisly killings late on Tuesday brought to 80 the number of victims in two days of attacks by separatists whose comrades have been fighting a 3,000 strong security force at the Golden Temple in Amritsar for more than a week.

Police in Chandigarh said they had been expecting a wave of revenge killings by separatists fighting for an independent Sikh homeland they call Khalistan —— land of the pure.

But the scale of the attacks has surprised even them.

“We were asleep when they came,” said Kali Ram who was being treated for arm and leg wounds. “They asked us to get up, and stand in a queue and then they started firing at us.

“They were shouting pro Khalistan and antigovernment slogans and said if there were any survivors they would come again tomorrow and finish the job”.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 27, 1988