Although militants have shot dead a minister in Indian-controlled Kashmir and the military claims more are trying to cross into India, the October 8 earthquake dealt a severe blow to the mostly pro-Pakistan militants, officials claim. Jammu-Kashmir state education minister Ghulam Nabi Lone, 62, was killed in a brazen daylight raid on Tuesday by Islamic militants who scaled the wall of his residence in a highly guarded enclave of central Srinagar. He was the third senior Indian official killed by insurgents since 2000. Analysts say his murder demonstrates militants are trying to show that they are still active, despite losing many of their cadres in the earthquake. 'They want to convey they can still strike and disrupt the ongoing peace process' with Pakistan, said Kashmir specialist Amitabh Mattoo, vice-chancellor of Jammu University. The exact number of cadres killed is unknown but the Indian army claims many died in the quake. 'Up to 700 militants were killed in the earthquake in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir, we are sure. Since the earthquake, we have intercepted more than 15 militant wireless messages,' said Major-General M. S. Balhara, the commanding officer of a counter-insurgency wing of the Indian army. A spokesman for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, Yahya Mujaheed, admitted the quake had killed at least 100 of its cadres, including 40 pupils at a madrassa. 'It has been a serious blow to our struggle,' he said. Last week, the Hizbul Mujahedeen militant group said its cadres in Muzaffarabad were safe. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, a Kashmiri separatist group known for its anti-Pakistani stance, believes the pro-Pakistan rebels could have suffered as many as 3,000 casualties.