Wednesday, August 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Ultra massacres 9 yatris
Amarnath pilgrimage to continue
Tribune News Service and Agencies

Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah talks to an injured pilgrim in a hospital at Pahalgam.
Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah talks to an injured pilgrim in a hospital at Pahalgam. — Reuters

A policeman covers the bodies of pilgrims killed in the attack. — Reuters

The view of the base camp Nunwan, near Pahalgam, after the attack. — PTI photo 

Holymen wait to enter a camp, the site of the attack, at Nunwan, 95 km southeast of Srinagar, on Tuesday. 
— Reuters

Srinagar, August 6
In the first major strike on Amarnath pilgrims this year, a lone militant attacked their base camp gunning down nine devotees and injuring 30 others in their sleep near Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir early today.

Three pilgrims died on the spot, the police said, while five others later died at the local hospital. Another seriously injured person, Manoj Sehgal from Jaipur died while being shifted to Srinagar.

According to the doctors attending on the injured, most of the victims had bullet injuries while some of them had splinter injuries.

Appearing from the nearby hillock, the militant believed to be a foreign mercenary and dressed in the Gujjar attire, tore the three-tier security set up and launched the surprise attack at 5.20 am hurling grenades and firing indiscriminately from an AK-47 rifle for a few minutes before he was shot dead by the security persons, officials said.

They said the militant struck when the pilgrims were sleeping at the base camp of Nunwan, 100 km from here, from where devotees begin their arduous 46-km trek to reach the cave shrine of Amarnath.

Fourteen of those seriously injured were hospitalised in Srinagar while others were admitted to different hospitals in Anantnag. The condition of four of the injured was stated to be serious, they said.

No militant outfit has claimed the responsibility for the attack — the second within a week on pilgrims.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to next of kin of the pilgrims gunned down at Nunwan camp on Tuesday an official spokesman said here.

The government has also announced relief of Rs 75,000 to each seriously injured pilgrims and Rs 5000 for those wounded in the attack, he said.

In New Delhi Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said Al Mansuriya, a new militant outfit floated by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, was responsible for the attack.

Stating that a high-level team of Home Ministry officials led by a Special Secretary had reached the site for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation, he asserted the Amarnath yatra would continue.

Minister of State for Home I.D. Swami said: “We are determined to continue the Amarnath yatra. The yatra will continue.” The state Governor G.C. Saxena, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Director General of Police A.K. Suri rushed to the scene, officials said. The attack triggered panic throughout the state and the pilgrimage was temporarily suspended.

All senior police and civil officials rushed to the site to take stock of the situation.

The security forces which had been part of a three-tier security arrangements for the Amarnath pilgrims cordoned off entire Nunwan area soon after the shooting.

The security forces said the militant, had crawled the Ganeshbal hill from the rear side of Nunwan dodging the security forces and launched the surprise attack.

Sources said the militant was suspected to be a foreign mercenary as his rifle bore inscription ‘’Islamia Library Lahore” and “ya allah mujai madad kar (oh, God help me)’’.

The pilgrimage has become a target of militants since 1994 when Harkat-ul-Ansar outfit threatened the pilgrims and carried out several attacks on them in their bid to disrupt the annual ritual.

However, the Hizb-ul Mujahideen outfit has time and again kept itself aloof from the militants who threatened the pilgrims and stated that it had ordered its activists not to harm the pilgrims.

Those killed in today’s attack are; Bharem Singh s/o Dara Singh, r/o Nehra Nagar behind Jawan road, Shiv Ganj, Shervee district, Rajasthan; Kailash Singh Dabar s/o Jagir Nath Dabar, r/o Rampor, Nemuch district, Madhya Pradesh; Ms Dimple d/o Hari Chand r/o Patel Nagar A-K-43-C, New Delhi; D Bala Chandran, serial No 1930/06, Indian Bank, s/o N K, r/o Trussavalal, 31 Raja Jee Saihsh, Chennai; Dav Swroop Swami r/o Anboword village, Sukhas Madwadi Bossgal Tashwar, Ahmedabad; Yoga Singh, s/o Sardar Masga Singh r/o Mokhari, Punjab; Mohan Lal Sanny s/o Dari Lal Sanny, r/o Barari Ramgunj Mandi, Kota district, Rajasthan; Rujbaj Pahway s/o R N Bajpaway, r/o 30/41 Mushori Mohalla, Kanpur, UP; and Manoj Sahgal of Jaipur in Rajashtan.

Of the 31 injured, 28 have been identified as: Amar Deep Singh s/o Nirmal Singh, r/o Tilak Nagar, Delhi); Farooq Ahmad s/o Gaffar r/o Harnag, Anantnag, Kashmir; Manzoor Ahmad Sheikh (s/o Abdul Rehman r/o Bijbehara, Kashmir; Jamna, wife of Harjee Bhai r/o Gujarat Raskap Thapa, s/o Kalash Thapa, r/o Nimash, Himachal Pradesh; Ram Samroo s/o Pasa Lal Patil, r/o Surat, Gujarat; Sharda, wife of Gansham r/o Gujarat; Raju Lal, s/o Sham Ji Prasad, r/o Jharkhand; Vijay Kumar s/o Tulsi Ram, r/o Farooqabad, UP; Rajesh Kumar s/o Eaishwar, r/o Tilak Nagar, Delhi; Praksh Chandra r/o Dabiwali, HP; Shanti Bhai s/o Ganga Dhar, r/o Maharashtra; Janti Kiras wife of Surie Bhai r/o Gujarat; Kirpa Ram s/o Ram Subraj r/o UP; Mircha, s/o Bhali r/o Rajasthan; Susheel Kumar s/o Namchand r/o Aalikpora, Sonipath; Ashesh s/o Jagdeesh r/o Bhopal; Anju Sharma d/o Kastoori Lal, r/o Tilab Tiloo, Jammu; Manjookar Singh s/o Shiv Veti, r/o West Bengal; Arvind s/o Ram Dass r/o HP; Murti Dass s/o Shiv Lal r/o Baralee; Suresh Mishra s/o Ram Krishan r/o Delhi; Radhaya Sham s/o Sandon Ram, r/o Jammu; Hari Dass s/o Suhau Lal r/o Rajasthan; Zakir Haran s/o Ram Ujit r/o Lucknow, UP; R.S. Verma s/o R N Verma, r/o Lucknow, UP; Darshan Singh s/o Mooga Singh r/o Hasharpore, Punjab; Praveen s/o Mangat Ram, r/o Delhi.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Defence Production Chaman Lal Gupta was briefed by civilian and Army officials about today’s ultra attack on Amarnath pilgrims.

Mr Gupta, who arrived at Pahalgam, visited the camp and was given a detailed account on how the ultra entered the area, hurled grenades and fired upon pilgrims with an automatic weapon before he was shot dead by security forces.

Senior civil, Army and paramilitary forces’ officers also briefed him about measures taken for pilgrims’ safety.

Mr Gupta later visited sub-district hospital Pahalgam and enquired about the injured.


Year 2000
  • At least 25 persons, including 16 Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 60 others were injured in an attack by militants at Pahalgam base camp.
Year 2001
  • Twelve persons, including three women pilgrims and two police officials, were killed and 15 injured when a militant hurled two grenades at a camp and later fired indiscriminately near the holy cave.
Year 2002
  • Two pilgrims were killed and two others injured when militants threw a grenade and later opened fire on a group of devotees in Jammu ahead of their trek to Amarnath cave shrine.
  • Twentyfour persons were injured in a powerful grenade attack by suspected militants at a bus station on the route of the Amarnath pilgrimage.
  • A devotee and a taxi driver were killed and three injured when suspected militants lobbed a grenade in Anantnag along the pilgrim route.
  • Eight persons were killed and 27 wounded in an attack by militants on a base camp at Nunwan. PTI



APHC condemns killings
Tribune News Service and UNI

Srinagar, August 6
The All-Party Hurriyat Conference and other parties today condemned the attack on Amarnath pilgrims at the Nunwan base camp near Pahalgam this morning in which nine yatris were killed and 28 injured.

In a statement here this evening, the APHC expressed grief over the loss of human lives in the attack and said the amalgam always condemned such killings.

Describing the incident as a human tragedy, an APHC spokesman demanded an impartial inquiry into the incident.

The Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Ahmad Shah, who visited the Nunwan base camp and met yatris, also expressed deep shock over the incident.

State secretary of the CPM Mohammad Yousuf Targami expressed shock and sorrow over the savage killings of the innocent yatris.

The Jammu and Kashmir Congress condemned the killings and demanded an investigation into the incident.

“Whosoever has committed this grave act must be brought to book and we demand an investigation into the incident,” vice-president of the party’s state unit Peerzada Mohammad Syed said.

A report from Pahalgam said the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mr Farooq Abdullah, and the Governor, Mr Girish Chandra Saxena, who visited the Nunwan base camp of the Amarnath Yatra after the militant attack today, took stock of the situation and condemned the incident.

The Union Minister of State for Defence, Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, accompanied by Mr Ramesh Bhandari, Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, arrived here and visited the Nunwan base camp, the site of the killings. Later, they also visited the sub-district hospital, Pahalgam, and enquired about the health of injured pilgrims.

Mr Gupta and Mr Bhandari were briefed by the civil and Army authorities.

Talking to mediapersons, the Governor, said there were apprehensions of targeting pilgrims, but “how and when, nobody knew”. He described as most unfortunate the killings of Amarnath pilgrims.

Condemning the incident, the Chief Minister said the yatra would continue. Asserting that the government had made elaborate security arrangements for the smooth conduct of the yatra, he declared that the pilgrimage would continue.

The Chief Minister said though “adequate security arrangements have been made, yet militants have an edge, as they choose the place of their attack”. He described the incident as most unfortunate and hoped that the world would wake up and respond to the situation created by the neighbouring country in the state.

The Chief Minister said destruction of training camps across the border was the only alternative to uproot terror. Pakistan, he said, would get nothing by engineering such acts and Kashmir would always remain an integral part of the nation.

PHILLAUR: The Punjab Shiv Sena has condemned the killings of the pilgrims and described the act as inhuman. It has urged the Centre to postpone the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and hand over the law and order situation in the valley to the Army.

Talking to newspersons here on Tuesday patron of the state unit of the Sena Swami Pushpender Swaroop flayed Pakistan for its constant support to terrorism.


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