Wednesday, December 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Major killed in attack on Army camp

SRINAGAR, Dec 12 (UNI, PTI) — An Army Major two jawans and a cop were killed and four others injured in a suicide squad attack on their camp at Shashiwar Rafiabad in Baramula district of North Kashmir in the wee hours today, the 15th day of unilateral ceasefire.

Elsewhere in the state, two security personnel and four militants were among eight persons killed during the past 24 hours.

An official spokesman said two militants, believed to be “fidayeen” (suicide squad members), attacked the Army camp with automatic weapons killing Major Maninder Singh and a jawan, who was not immediately identified.

This was the third such attack in the valley after the Ramzan ceasefire came into effect on November 28.

The sources said it was not clear whether the militants had entered the camp or attacked it from outside.

A Lashker-e-Toiba spokesman told local newspapers that both the militants reached their hideout after attacking the Army camp. He claimed that eight security personnel, including the Major, were killed.

The area had been cordoned off and a massive hunt launched to nab the militants, the sources said.

Earlier, seven Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed and 15 others injured in a “fidayeen” attack on its battalion headquarters in South Kashmir. The two suicide squad members also died in the attack.

Troops foiled another attack when they shot dead a militant before he could storm into their camp in North Kashmir.

The spokesman said militants shot dead one Abdul Rashid, a special police officer (SPO) in his Samwara house last evening.


Ceasefire: Army claims success
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 12 — The Army Chief, Gen S. Padmanabhan, today said the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir was holding well with odd hiccups here and there.

He said while firing from across the Line of Control had become negligible, the forces were keeping a tight vigil.

Due to heightened vigil by the forces infiltration attempts from PoK had also come down. “Recently we had two major contacts and both of them were repulsed with heavy casualties”.

Saying that the security forces were on full alert against suicide squads, the General said, “If somebody wants to commit suicide, he will do so ceasefire or no ceasefire”.

Asked whether there was a delay in the acquisition of unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicles (UAV’s), the Army Chief said, “We already have some operational. More will come”.

He was speaking to newsmen after flagging off the Army contingent in the 20th Indian Antarctica expedition.

Elaborating on the UAV’s and their application to spot infiltration from across the LoC, Gen Padmanabhan said “we have asked for more.

He also announced that the Army had done away with shortened courses for officers introduced by his predecessor Gen V.P. Malik to overcome serious shortage.

“We have reverted back to the old systems”, he said. With this the direct entrants would now have to do a course of a year and half instead of one year, the NDA entrants one year instead of six months and Army cadet college entry also for a year instead of six months.


Hurriyat Executive meeting by week-end
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 12 — The Executive Council of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) will meet in Srinagar by the end of this week to discuss the developments after the announcement of unilateral ceasefire by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Senior Hurriyat leaders, including its chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat have already left Delhi for Srinagar to take part in the meeting. Mr Abdul Ghani Lone, who arrived here yesterday after a visit to Pakistan, is leaving for Srinagar tomorrow. A Hurriyat spokesman in Delhi said the meeting would take place by the weekend.

The meeting assumes significance in the wake of differences among senior Hurriyat leaders over the APHC’s response to the ceasefire initiative, specially the keenness shown by some of its top leaders for initiating a dialogue for resolving the Kashmir problem. A section of the Hurriyat has criticised the ‘‘extended stay’’ of its leaders in Delhi and has also taken exception to some statements of Mr Lone.

The Executive Council meeting will also discuss if the Hurriyat leaders should move forward on its proposal to send a team to Pakistan to hold talks with various groups there. 

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