Friday, August 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Srinagar car blast kills 12
Lensman among victims; heavy shelling by Pak
From Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

SRINAGAR, Aug 10 — In the first major strike after the withdrawal of ceasefire, suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militants today triggered a powerful car bomb blast, killing 12 persons including 10 policemen and a photographer of a national daily in a decoy grenade attack here.

Eyewitnesses put the death toll at 14, including 12 securitymen, in the blast which Army experts believed was triggered by PETN chemical explosive at the fashionable Residency Road.

The policemen killed were identified as Sub-Inspector Mohammed Yaqoob and constables Imtiyaz Ahmad, Nissar Ahmad, Jan Mohammad, Devinder Singh, Nissar Ahmad, Bodh Raj and Mohammad Ashraf.

Army experts said PETN explosive was believed to be used in triggering the explosion.

The white Ambassador car bearing number JK01B-9001 used in the blast is believed to have been stolen one, official sources said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Kuldip Sharma and Delhi-based photographer Pradip Kumar Bhatia were among the killed in the blast which occurred at 12.30 p.m. Mr Sharma and Mr Bhatia were injured and died in the hospital later.

Two police officers, including a Superintendent of Police Pankaj Saxena, an Army Major and six photo-journalists and TV cameramen were among the injured when an explosive-laden white Ambassador car, believed to be a stolen one, blew up.

An official spokesman said the car bomb went off 15 minutes after a grenade was exploded by militants near Kothibagh police station after which senior police officials and mediapersons rushed to the spot.

As the officers inspected the grenade attack site, the car parked in a lane blew up, killing nine policemen on the spot, the spokesman said.

The police said a shopkeeper, Bashir Ahmad Gandroo, died of cardiac arrest following the deafening sound of the blast.

The injured included mostly police personnel, securitymen and press photographers who had gone to the spot after the grenade explosion. Among the photojournalists injured were Amin War, I Tariq, H.U. Naqash, (Asian Age), Rafiq Manzoor, Fayaz Kabli and Bilal Bhat. Bilal Bhat (ANI) and Fayaz Kabli of Reuters were later discharged from SMHS Hospital and Soura Medical Institute, respectively.

Others are undergoing treatment at Soura Medical Institute.

Eyewitnesses said the explosion took place in a white Ambassador car parked near the SBI gate that was being searched by the police and Army personnel after the grenade explosion.

The bodies of those killed are kept at the police control room. The body of Pradeep Bhatia, photo-journalist of the Hindustan Times will be sent to Delhi tomorrow.

Journalists have expressed shock and grief over the death of Bhatia and expressed sympathy with the bereaved family. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has condemned the attack and conveyed his sympathy with the family of Pradeep Bhatia as well as to the families of others killed in the incident.

PTI adds: Two top militants were killed in an exchange of fire with the security forces in Ramkote area of Kathua district on Wednesday night, official sources said.

An infiltration bid was foiled in Noushera when the security forces gunned down a top ultra.

Militants threw grenades at the house of counter insurgent Abdul Rehman Padroo at Tangaloo-Duroo in Anantnag district killing his mother on the spot and injuring five other family members.

BARAMULA (UNI): At least seven houses were reduced to a rubble and five partially damaged in artillery and mortar shelling by Pakistani troops in Karnah sector early this morning.

Official sources said Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked shelling from across the border, targeting civilian areas and security installations.

A dozen houses were hit by shells in Umar Rahi village near the Line of Control.



Hizb, Lashker claim responsibility

SRINAGAR, Aug 10 (PTI) — Pakistan-backed Lashker-e-Toiba claimed responsibility for the powerful car bomb blast which killed 11 persons and injured 38 here today.

A spokesman of the outfit telephoned a local news agency (CNS) and claimed that its activists had hijacked an Ambassador car of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank at 1147 hours from downtown Srinagar and used it to trigger the blast at 1230 hours.

A report from Islamabad said the Hizbul Mujahideen was behind the grenade and landmine attack.


Blast at Pak’s behest: PM

NEW DELHI, Aug 10 (PTI) — Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee tonight said the car bomb explosion in Srinagar was executed “at the behest of Pakistan”.

“This is yet another example of Islamabad’s sustained campaign of cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India,” Mr Vajpayee said in a statement condemning the dastardly act.


Hurriyat leaders in Geneva

GENEVA, Aug 10 (UNI) — At least a dozen leaders of the All Party Hurriyat Conference have arrived here to participate in the first international conference on self-determination where the Kashmir issue is on the agenda.

Hurriyat leader Moulvi Omar Farooq, Altaf Hussain of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and several other secessionist leaders from Pak-occupied Kashmir will attend the conference to present their views on resolution of the Kashmir problem.

The three-day conference, organised by the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM), will discuss Kashmir, East Timor and Chechnya. 

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