- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 3, 2002

SRINAGAR, India Kashmir's new government, within hours of taking office yesterday, was hit with a series of reminders of the difficulties it faces.
Attackers hurled grenades at the home of the state's chief minister, and a series of other violent incidents claimed 16 lives.
A decades-old political era dominated by the National Conference party ended in Jammu and Kashmir state as Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, a leader of the People's Democratic Party, was sworn in as chief minister, the state's top elected official.
Three hours before his inauguration, Mr. Sayeed survived a grenade attack on his home in Srinagar by people suspected of being Islamic militants. He was inside the house but not hurt, but one of his guards was injured.
The attack on Mr. Sayeed came after a Pakistan-based Islamic rebel group, Al-Umar Mujahideen, warned his People's Democratic Party yesterday against joining the new government.
As the ceremony continued, Indian soldiers killed 12 suspected of being Islamic guerrillas as they tried to enter from Pakistan-controlled territory across the disputed Kashmir border, about 155 miles southwest of Srinagar, police said.
Firing continued for more than three hours across hilly terrain near the cease-fire line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, as delegates returned to their homes from the inauguration ceremony in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, unidentified attackers shot and killed a local leader of the Congress party and his two police guards at a busy bus station.
Soon after, a police officer was shot by people suspected of being rebels in Srinagar's main town square, and four grenades were lobbed at a post of the paramilitary Border Security Force.
Pakistan-based Islamic militants had threatened to kill political candidates in the recent state legislature elections in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The run-up to the elections was marred by several attacks and killings, including that of a government minister.
No party won a majority in the election. After weeks of political deadlock, eight ministers were also sworn in for the state's coalition government: two from Mr. Sayeed's PDP, three from the Congress party, one from the Hindu-dominated Panther's Party and two independents.
The elections, conducted from Sept. 16 to Oct. 8, shocked political observers when voters ousted the National Conference party, which had dominated politics in Jammu and Kashmir for 50 years.

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