Thursday, August 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Night of massacres leaves 105 dead in valley
Army out in Jammu    Central team in Srinagar

TNS and agencies

SRINAGAR, Aug 2 — In a series of planned massacres, militants have gunned down 95 persons, (105 according to PTI) since last night. However, the officials put the toll at 89.

Hours after their strike at Amarnath pilgrims base camp at Pahalgam, the militants, believed to be opposed to the Hizbul Mujahideen’s ceasefire declaration, struck with a vengeance striking at five places killing at least 58 members of the minority community.

Of the 32 persons killed in the attack at the base camp, 21 were Amarnath pilgrims and seven Muslims, mainly shopkeepers and porters. Sixty persons received gun shot injuries in the two-hour-long shootout, official sources said.

A para-military jawan stands guard as a group of pilgrims waits for a bus at Pahalgam,  97 km south-east of Srinagar,  on Wednesday. — Reuters photo.As the administration was dealing with the Pahalgam incident, the militants struck again killing 27 labourers hailing from UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in two separate attacks at Mirbazar-Qazigund and Sandoo-Acchabal in Anantnag district.

In the wee hours today they gunned down 11 members of the minority community in a remote village in Doda district and wiped out seven members of a family belonging to a surrendered militant in Kupwara.

They also ambushed a group of village defence committee members when they were on a patrol in Kayar village of Doda killing eight of them and injuring two others.

An official spokesman here said the militants also took away weapons of the deceased and the injured persons.

In yet another incident, militants shot dead two persons at Ramsu on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

A high-level central team headed by Mr T.R. Kakkar and comprising Director General, CRPF, Trinath Mishra and a senior CRPF official arrived here to take stock of the situation following the large-scale killings.

Militants called male labourers in Mirbazar out of their hutments on the pretext of helping them to extricate a stuck vehicle but hardly they had moved 15 to 20 metre when the militants turned back and fired a hail of bullets killing 18 on the spot and injuring eight others, Shankar, one of the injured said in a hospital here.

Within minutes another group of militants struck in Sandoo-Acchabal where they shot dead seven brick-kiln labourers after segregating them from women and children. Two labourers were injured in the attack.

The militants gunned down 11 members of the minority community at Khodinadh village in Banihal, 125 km from here.

A group of about 10 militants barged into the house of a surrendered militant Mustaq Ahmad Gani and shot dead his wife, parents, grandfather and two children at Kalaroos in Kupwara district, the police said.

A number of injured in the Pahalgam attack had been admitted to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar.

A pilgrim from Jalandhar, Wayalat Singh, whose son Resham Singh is undergoing treatment in the hospital said: “We heard deafening sound of explosion and gun shots at Pahalgam at around 7.15 pm and saw two masked gunmen firing indiscriminately towards the camp”.

Abdul Hameed, a resident of Khannabal-Anantnag, who was also injured, said the militants first opened fire which was retaliated by security forces.

Meanwhile, 16 of the 25 Amarnath pilgrims killed by the militants at Pahalgam on Tuesday have been identified so far.

An official spokesperson said the dead included Naresh Goyal of Meerut, his two daughters Neha and Geeta, Biran Kanta of Delhi, Rattan Lal Raw of Kheri Chitorgarh, Biswanath Dass of Patna, Ramesh Prasad of Jai Prakash Nagar (UP), Ritu Raj Verma of Maharajgunj (UP), Hazari Singh, Narayan Puri and Narayan Sadhu besides four locals Suraj Singh, Irshad Ahmad, Mushtaq Ahmad Parray and Ghulam Hassan Mir.

The bodies of eight pilgrims were sent to Delhi by Indian Airlines and Jet Airways.

Efforts were on to identify the other bodies.

JAMMU: The Army was called out to assist the police and paramilitary forces to enforce the curfew restrictions in Jammu town. Troops with guns atop trucks marched through the city streets to ensure total response to the indefinite curfew restrictions.

According to the District Magistrate, Mr R. K. Goel, curfew restrictions were imposed late last night as part of precautionary measures to prevent any backlash following the killing of Amarnath pilgrims at Pahalgam.

He said the decision was taken at a meeting of senior officers and towns of Kathua, Rajouri, Udhampur and Bhaderwah were also placed under curfew restrictions.

The state government has ordered the closure of all educational institutions in Jammu for an indefinite period. Groups of lathi-wielding youths forced some shopkeepers to close their business establishments. Shouting anti-Pakistan and anti-government slogans these youths deflated tyres of scores of scooter drivers.



Militants rained bullets
From Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

PAHALGAM, Aug 2 — A woman pilgrim was crying for help holding her four-year-old daughter close to her chest as her husband lay in a pool of blood due to indiscriminate firing by militants near Mamal bridge here last evening. 

Nobody came to her rescue to lift her husband’s body until the firing was over and the security forces and the police launched another cleansing operation, lifting the bodies and the injured from the spot. That is what Dilbagh, a driver from Jind, could see. He could not believe that he had escaped unhurt. He had been waiting at the base camp for over four days for several yatris whom he had brought from Jind who had gone ahead for the pilgrimage.

Bullets came like rain, said Kuldeep Kumar, a bus driver from Chandigarh, whose right leg was hit by bullet. He had brought 23 pilgrims from Chandigarh and was waiting for their return from the holy cave shrine of Amarnath. There were many others like him and the pilgrims at the langar site near the bridge at the time of the incident. There were many small vendors, all of them locals. Many of them fell victim to the bullets. Some were killed and others injured.

Nissar Ahmad and Ghulam Hassan, two local vendors, were also witness to the incident among many others. They were waiting at Nunwan, 2 km short of here, this morning waiting for the police nod to allow them to enter the township. “We want to see what happened to our stocks”, said Nissar Ahmad who had set up a stall of fur caps, sweaters etc, all that is required by the yatris on the trek from Chandanwari to the cave. Their cards were taken away by the police last evening soon after the incident and were returned to them this morning.

Narrating the gory incident, Nissar Ahmad said, “The firing started all of a sudden. Seven or eight yatris standing in front of my stall fell down as they were hit by the bullets. I saw pilgrims crying for help as I could not raise my head lest 1 was hit by a bullet. Later I was asked by the security personnel to lift the bodies when the firing stopped. I found nearly 35 persons lying crying for help”, Nissar and Ghulam Hassan did not know what happen to their other colleagues.


Unidentified bodies on website

SRINAGAR, Aug 2 (PTI) — The Jammu and Kashmir government today said photographs of unidentified bodies of the people killed in attacks by militants yesterday would be put on the official website of the state.

Meanwhile, the state government has sent eight bodies to Delhi while it would be shifting the remaining tomorrow, a government spokesman said. 

The web site, had, however, not been updated at the time of posting this item. 


President, PM condemn killings

NEW DELHI: President K.R. Narayanan, Vice-President Krishan Kant and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today condemned the “mindless and gruesome killings of at least 100 persons in Jammu and Kashmir by militants operating at the behest of Pakistan.

In a message, President Narayanan said, “I am shocked and deeply grieved to learn the mindless killings of innocent people by militants in Kashmir.

“To kill pilgrims, labourers and ordinary innocent men and women in the name of ‘Jehad’ is the height of barbarism and inhumanity,” Mr Narayanan said.

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