Tuesday, March 27, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Lashkar men storm CRPF camp, kill 4
Curfew reimposed in Baramula
Tribune News Service and PTI

Srinagar, March 26
In a major strike, a suicide squad of the Pakistan-based militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) today stormed a security camp here killing four Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and one ultra perished in retaliatory fire.

Three LeT militants wearing police uniform and armed with automatic weapons and grenades, forced their way into the heavily-guarded area of Wazirabagh and attacked the CRPF camp, located near the cultural centre of Tagore Hall around 5.45 p.m., opening indiscriminate fire on the sentries guarding the building, official sources said.

Two CRPF jawans were killed on the spot and six injured two of whom succumbed later.

Reinforcements of the Army and the BSF reached the spot and engaged the suicide squad, which succeeded in entering one of the barracks inside the camp, killing one of the militants, the sources said.

The Special Operations Group of the state police stepped in to assist the CRPF personnel in nabbing the other two militants and succeeded in securing the safe release of five CRPF personnel locked by the militants in a room. Some CRPF personnel were feared trapped inside the barrack where the militants had taken shelter after intruding into it, the sources said.

The Army troops moved in to assist the paramilitary personnel and intermittent firing was going on, the sources said. The body of the militant killed was recovered and was being identified, they said.

The attack took place in an area considered a high-security zone as several battalion and company headquarters of paramilitary troops are located there.

The entire area, where the Bakshi Indoor Stadium, the office of the Passport Officer and Tagore Hall are located, has been sealed. A caller, who identified himself as a spokesman for the LeT, claimed responsibility for the attack saying that three members of its suicidal squad were involved in it. He identified them as Abu Muslim Jarrar, Abu Bilal and Abu Hijrat.

Meanwhile, militants attacked the house of a leader of the Awami League, a political organisation of reformed militants, while two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants, a BSF jawan and a special police officer (SPO) were killed and two others wounded elsewhere in the valley, an official spokesman said. He said a group of unidentified militants opened fire at the house of Ghulam Nabi Ratanpuri at Gabarpora in Pulwama district of south Kashmir late last night.

Police guards posted at the house returned the fire forcing militants to retreat, the spokesman said, adding none was hurt in the encounter which lasted for over an hour.

Ratanpuri was present inside the house at the time of the militant attack aimed at his life, official sources said.

The spokesman said militants shot dead an SPO, Mohammad Sidiq Khan at Duban-Malangam in the Bandipora area of Baramula district in north Kashmir late last night and also attacked a security picket near police station Tral in Pulwama district of south Kashmir with rifle grenades wounding a jawan.

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped Ghulam Jeelani Naik from Nowshera locality of downtown Srinagar last evening. Naik, a resident of Khanyar, was taken to an unknown destination by his kidnappens, he said.

The curfew was reimposed in Baramula old town after being relaxed for a brief period on the fourth day today following violent clashes between the police and protestors in which three persons, including two policemen, were injured, official sources said here. The police also arrested seven persons, resorted to baton charge and fired warning shots to bring the situation under control.

The trouble erupted in the morning when after the relaxation in the curfew, people of over a dozen localities of old Baramula took to streets protesting against the killing of a youth in CRPF firing on Friday and the alleged desecration of Koran, the sources said.

Police personnel intervened resulting in clashes between the angry mobs and the cops, they said, adding two policemen and a civilian were injured in the clashes.

The protestors were tear-gassed and lathi-charged by the cops when efforts to disperse the stone-pelting crowds proved ineffective, the sources said.

Sensing trouble, the authorities immediately announced the reimposition of the curfew in the old town, they said adding the situation was the tense but under control.

Meanwhile, the curfew was lifted from other parts of Baramula town, including the Civil Lines area, in view of improvement in the situation, the sources said adding elsewhere in the valley, including Srinagar, life returned to normal as shops and business establishments reopened and all modes of transport were plying normally.

The Poonch district administration also lifted the day curfew in the town on Monday following further improvement in the situation, an official spokesman said in Jammu.

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