Monday, November 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

4 jawans die in ambush
Stay away from talks, warns Pak-based outfit
Tribune News Service and agencies

SRINAGAR, Nov 26 — At least four Army jawans were killed when militants ambushed a patrol party in the Patushai area of Kupwara district today, while the police recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition from a Srinagar-bound taxi in Kupwara last evening.

According to reports, militants ambushed a patrol of the Army in Gojarpati locality of Patushai in Kupwara district today. Four jawans were killed on the spot. The militants took away an LMG and an AK-47 assault rifle from the site of the attack.

A local news agency said here that the Al-Badr militant outfit had claimed responsibility for the attack. This is the first such attack on the security forces in Kashmir after the unilateral ceasefire by the Prime Minister on Tuesday for the holy month of Ramzan.

The militants have in two other incidents killed at least 10 persons, five Sikh and five Hindus, in two separate incidents in Doda district of the Jammu region after the announcement of the ceasefire. Five Sikhs truck drivers were killed when militants intercepted a convoy of trucks on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway on Tuesday evening. In another incident, unidentified militants kidnapped and subsequently shot dead five persons on Friday evening.

With the death of four jawans in Kupwara district today, the death toll since November 20 after the Prime Minister announced the ceasefire has risen to 60. As many as 29 civilians, 10 security personnel and 21 militants have been killed since.

Two militants were killed in an encounter with the security forces in Budgam district in central Kashmir today.

The Kupwara police recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition from a Srinagar-bound taxi last evening. Acting on a tip-off, the police and the security forces sealed all exit points and searched the taxi from which a large quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered. The recoveries included 45 rifle grenades, nine hand grenades, 20 anti-tank grenades, two anti-tank mines, two smoke grenades and 28 kg of RDX.

A PTI report quoted Inspector General of Police A.K. Bhan saying the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the local police and the security forces intercepted the taxi near Handwara.

Three persons involved in the transportation of illegal arms and ammunition from Kupwara to other parts of the valley were arrested from the vehicle. They led the joint party to different places in Kupwara from where seven more members of the gang were arrested and a huge cache of arms and ammunition recovered, Mr Bhan said.

Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad led by Masood Azhar, who was released from jail in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane last year, has warned the Hurriyat Conference and political parties against holding talks on the Kashmir issue.

In a statement appearing in a local newspaper here today, a JEM spokesman warned of serious consequences if they did not stop issuing statements welcoming the unilateral ceasefire and expressing readiness to hold talks with the Centre.

The spokesman said there would be no talks unless the Army was withdrawn from Kashmir. The parties welcoming the ceasefire offer had “no base in Kashmir nor had the people ever accepted them as their representatives,” he said.

“The leaders of these political parties were all set to hold talks with the Centre, which the outfit will never allow”, the spokesman warned.

The outfit maintained that “jehad” was the only solution to the Kashmir dispute.

The JEM expressed grief and anguish over the massacre of five Sikh truckers on the Srinagar-Jammu highway and said it was the “handiwork” of Indian security forces to defame the militants and give a communal tinge to the freedom movement”.

Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate shelling on Indian positions, wounding two civilians and damaging a house in the Karnah sector of Kupwara district last night.

The mortar and artillery shelling continued till the wee hours today. Two civilians were injured and a house was damaged when Pakistani shells landed in Batpora village.

The injured were hospitalised, sources said.Back

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