Wednesday, January 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

MLA, family escape militant attack
Tribune News Service and UNI

SRINAGAR, Jan 4 — A member of the Legislative Assembly and his family escaped a militant bid on their lives at Bijbehara while elsewhere in the valley three militants were among four persons killed in the past 24 hours.

The security forces arrested a militant and recovered explosives, mines and other sophisticated weapons during overnight operations across the valley.

An official spokesman said militants attacked the house of MLA Abdul Rehman Veeri at Bijbehara last evening with automatic weapons.

He said police guards posted there returned the fire, but the militants escaped. However, Mr Veeri of the Peoples’ Democratic Party and his family escaped unhurt in the attack.

He said the security forces killed two militants during an encounter in the Wagat forest area in Kupwara district yesterday. Two AK rifles, three magazines and one wireless set were seized.

He said the body of Riyaz Ahmad Reshi, a militant was recovered from Gadole Kokernag village in south Kashmir while Noor-ud-Din was killed in an encounter between the militants and the security forces at Hindgam.

He said the forces captured a militant and recovered 18 kg of explosives, two anti-tank mines, 25 anti- personnel mines, 42 time devices, 54 metres of cordex, four detonators, eight grenades, one rocket launcher and more than 600 rounds of ammunition in the valley during overnight operations.

JAMMU: The police today foiled a major plan to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations in Jammu with the recovery of six powerful artillery shells from the banks of river Tawi.

Giving details of the recovery the DGP, Mr Gurbachan Jagat, told newsmen here on Tuesday that these six 107mm artillery shells were solar operated. They had been timed and each shell was to explode after a gap of 15 minutes.

There was no need for igniting these shells which had the capacity of causing death and destruction on a large-scale. He said yesterday three 107mm solar operated shells were recovered from the lower banks of the Tawi near Domana. These shells had been planted to disrupt the Gurupurab celebrations yesterday.

Mr Jagat said having been frustrated with the successes the police and the other security forces had achieved in eliminating a large number of militants in the past several months the Pak agents had started using land mines, rockets and solar operated artillery shells to attack security pickets and disrupt public functions.

He said in the past seven months those mercenaries who had been pushed into Jammu and Kashmir were better trained and equipped with highly sophisticated weapons. The modus operandi of the ISI agents, he said, was to attack the security posts from a distance using these sophisticated weapons.

The DGP said steps had been taken to intensify counter insurgency operations.

Mr Jagat said additional bunkers had been set up in the sensitive areas, including Srinagar city, so that foreign mercenaries had no chance to sneak into the summer capital. He said sending members of suicide squads for attacking the security forces indicated the level of frustration the Pakistani agencies had been under after the Kargil debacle.

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