Thursday, April 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

"Human bomb" injures 5
Tribune News Service & UNI

SRINAGAR, April 19 — In the first incident of its kind in the decade-long militancy in Kashmir, five Army personnel were injured after a human bomb blew up the vehicle he was driving near the main gate of the Army headquarters at Badamibagh cantonment in Srinagar this afternoon, Army sources said.

The suicide bomber was killed in the blast, the sources said.

A defence spokesman said that the car bearing No. DL-4048 was seen moving in suspicious circumstances near the main gate of the Badami Bagh cantonment, where the headquarter of 15 Corps of the Army is located. The sentry signalled the driver to stop, as he turned towards the main gate from the main road another sentry moved to stop the car. “Sensing that he would not make an entry into the area, the explosion was caused”, the defence spokesman said.

Four Army jawans and a civilian were injured in the blast. Police sources said the car was taken away at gun point from a businessman in the Lal Bazar area earlier in the day.

The troops immediately cordoned off the area and the pedestrian and vehicular traffic was suspended.

This is for the first time that militants have made an attempt in the area after an attack on November 3. Ten persons, including defence PRO, Major P. Purushottam, were killed in the attack by “fidayeen group” of the militants.

Elsewhere, at least eight persons, including four militants, were killed and 32 others injured in separate incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday.

Two students were killed and 28 others were injured, 17 of them critically, when suspected militants hurled a grenade and followed it with firing on a patrol party at Iqbal Market, Sopore in Baramula district. The incident took place at 11.45 a.m., the police said adding that two students died on the spot, while 28 others were injured. Reports from the apple-rich town of Sopore in north Kashmir said most of them were injured in the indiscriminate retaliatory fire by the security forces. Those admitted to SMHS Hospital here had suffered bullet injuries, hospital sources said.

Those killed on the spot were identified as Miss Rubaya Akhtar from Handwara, a college student, and a standard VIII student, Abdul Qayoom of Sopore town.

In another incident at Azad Gunj in Baramula town militants shot at and injured an SPO and a constable late last evening. They were shifted to the hospital, where the SPO, Abdul Rashid died. Constable Manzoor Ahmad was undergoing treatment, and his condition was stated to be out of danger.

One militant was killed while a civilian was injured in an encounter with the security forces at Palhalan village of Pattan in Baramula district. He was identified as Mehrajuddin Bhat, alias Mian, of the same village, while the injured was identified as Ashiq Hussain Bhat.


3 hurt in border shelling
Tribune News Service

PALLANWALA (Akhnoor sector), April 19 — A mother and her two daughters have been injured and more than six houses destroyed in heavy shelling by Pak troops on this town since last evening.

When a team of newspersons visited border today the town wore a deserted look and the sprawling fields and tall shrubs, including sarkanda, were on fire due to explosions of the mortar shells. The Pak shelling had left a trail of destruction in the yet harvested crope fields.

Col. R.P. Singh, Deputy Commander, 52 Brigade, said Pak troops had fired between 200 and 250 mortar shells since last evening. They had also resorted to heavy MMG firing on Indian villages. “Most of the shells had, however, missed the target.

He said: We retaliated with mortar and MMG fire which silenced the Pak guns.”

Unofficial reports said more than 10 Pak bunkers were destroyed in the retaliatory fire.

Hoshak Singh, a 70-year-old farmer said: we were free from our supper when the town was rocked by heavy shelling. We ducked fearing that war has been declared by Pakistan.”

Angrez Singh, another farmer, said as many as 15 mortar shells had exploded in the market damaging six houses.

The town has almost been ravaged by intermittent Pak Shelling in the past nine months. Over 15,000 persons had fled this belt in the past few months and they were still residing in camps.

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