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Sikh militants in shoot-out with government forces

Sikh militants inside the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar attacked police and Army troops Monday for five hours, a government spokesman said. Sources said 36 Sikhs were killed in a shoot-out with government forces. But the reports could not be independently verified, because the Indian government has imposed a ban on news coverage from the strife-torn state. The government has said hundreds of Sikh extremists had taken refuge in the temple.

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Army troops sealed the borders of Punjab state on Sunday. All travel by road and rail was banned. Trains originating from the northernmost Kashmir State were to be allowed to pass through Punjab without passengers and under armed escort.

Indian President Zail Singh, who is a Sikh, declared a two-month blackout on news coverage within Punjab of Sikh-Hindu violence and military operations there.

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