Sunday, February 11, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ultras massacre 15 in Rajouri
Six children among victims
Tribune News Service and agencies

JAMMU, FEB 10 — Militants killed 15 persons, including women and children, in Budhal area of Rajouri district this morning, according to defence spokesman.

A group of militants descended on Chalwalkote village in Budhal area early this morning and attacked the houses of Gulzar Ahmed, Sharief Din and Abdul Rashid, all village defence committee (VDC) members of the Chalwalkote. The militants roasted alive 15 persons, including five men, four women and six children, all in the age group of 14-16.

The spokesman said the militants suspected that the VDC members were “informers”. Four grenades were thrown at the house of Abdul Rashid after which the ultras opened fire on all 15 family members sleeping at that time. Then they set on fire all three houses.

The Army and the police today recovered the charred bodies of all 15 victims.

The security forces have resumed the control of the police control room which was stormed by pro-Pakistan militants, triggering a fierce gunbattle lasting more than 13 hours that left eight policemen and two ultras dead.

Six policemen were also injured in the attack by four Lashkar-e-Toiba and Al Umar militants at Batmaloo at around 1930 hours last evening. Inspector-General of Police, Ashok K. Bhan, said today .

He said all 10 bodies, including those of eight policemen, were recovered. Troops were combing the area in search of more militants.

Security personnel regained control of the high-security control room, the main coordination centre of the police in Kashmir, this morning after an intense exchange of gunfire lasting more than 13 hours.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who rushed to Srinagar from New Delhi this morning, said two militants were killed in the gunfight.

Mr Bhan said it appeared that two militants had stormed the police control room while two more hurled grenades from outside.

A Lashker-e-Toiba spokesman telephoned local newspapers, saying only one of their militants, identified as Abu Mavia, was killed in the gunbattle.

Mr Farooq Abdullah, DGP a.k. Suri and other senior police officers today visited the control room.

The killed policemen were Head Constable Abdul Majeed (driver), Farooq Ahmad (constable driver), Zahoor Ahmad (PCR driver), constable Javid Ahmad, Head Constable Mohan Lal, constable Raj Singh, constable Shamim Ahmad and constable Tariq Ahmad.

The injured included SP Ramesh Jalla, who was discharged after first aid. Truck driver Ragubir Singh, caught in the cross-fire, was seriously injured and admitted to hospital.

The taxi in which the militants came to the police control room was impounded.

Troops busted a hideout with the help of local people and recovered three disposable rocket launchers, eight claymore mines and explosives at Magam village in Badgam district last night.

An official spokesman said militants hurled a grenade at a patrol party at Awantipora in Pulwama district this afternoon, injuring seven securitymen and three pedestrians.

Militants shot at and wounded a National Conference worker and numbardar Mohammad Sadiq at Kulgam last evening.

The forces killed two Hizb commanders, Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nissar Ahmad Bhat, in an encounter at Chaderban Kulgam in south Kashmir this morning. Two rifles, five magazines and 105 rounds were recovered from the slain militants.

Militants attacked the Karan Nagar police station with grenades last evening. The grenades missed the target and exploded without causing any damage.

A police officer escaped an attempt on his life when militants fired at him last evening at Bag-e-Mehtab.

A blast damaged the house of Nazir Ahmad Malla at Magarpora in the central Kashmir district of Badgam late last night. 


Shabir dares Farooq to hold elections
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, FEB 10 — In an apparent attack on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah today said certain people were creating problems in the ceasefire just to “protect their own chair”.

“Just to protect their own chair and interests and show to the Centre that everything is not well in the state some people are opposing the ceasefire,” Mr Shah told newspersons without naming anyone.

Mr Shah, who is in the Capital after touring earthquake-affected areas of Gujarat, said Pakistan’s response to the ceasefire offered a “golden opportunity” for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and India should take the offer seriously.

Asked what was the guarantee that Pakistan would reciprocate if India took Islamabad’s gesture seriously, keeping in view past experience, Mr Shah said, “If Pakistan sabotages the process, you will see our reaction.”

However, he did not elaborate on this.

Demanding elections in Jammu and Kashmir under the supervision of NGOs and prominent intellectuals, he dared the Chief Minister to contest elections under such an arrangement.

Mr Shah, who was a prominent member of the Hurriyat but later parted ways and formed his own Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, supported the Hurriyat proposal to go to Pakistan for talks with militant and political leaders and said India should give Hurriyat leaders passports.

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