Tuesday, April 24, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hurriyat defers decision on talks
4 hurt in blast inside APHC headquarters
Tribune News Service

One of the four Hurriyat activists.
Srinagar: One of the four Hurriyat activists injured in a grenade explosion at the alliance headquarters shouting for help. The grenade was hurled by unknown persons riding a scooter at a time when the general council of the Hurriyat was in session. 
— PTI photo 

Srinagar, April 23
The separatist Hurriyat Conference today again deferred a decision on its response to the talks offer by the Centre’s chief negotiator, Mr K.C. Pant, till Executive Committee meetings scheduled for Thursday.

Today’s meeting of the 23-member General Council of the APHC was marked by a grenade explosion inside the premises of the Hurriyat Conference headquarters at Rajbagh here this afternoon. Four persons, three from the Awami Action Committee (AAC) of former chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, including his driver, and one supporter of the APHC Chairman, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat’s Muslim Conference were injured in the explosion.

The APHC spokesman has condemned the attack and described it as yet another attempt on the life of the Hurriyat leaders. Eyewitnesses said two scooter-borne youths hurled a grenade inside the premises of the party headquarters at 1.30 p.m. while the meeting was on.

A number of supporters and activists of various constituents of the APHC were on the lawns of the office premises at the time of the explosion. The condition of one of the injured is stated to be critical. However, the meeting of the General Council was resumed after some time.

Talking to TNS, Sheikh Rashid, a spokesman for the APHC, after the five-hour-long meeting, said members of the General Council discussed in detail about their response to the talks offer. All organisations constituting the APHC put forth their point of view before the Executive Committee members.

The spokesman said a final decision would be taken by the seven-member Executive Committee which was scheduled to meet on Thursday.



Day of blasts in Kashmir, 25 hurt
M. L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 23
In a day of blasts more than 25 persons, including 10 security personnel, were wounded. At least 10 of them have been admitted to the Army and civil hospitals with serious wounds.

As many as nine incidents of grenade and IED blasts have taken place in different parts of the state since last night. This morning three blasts, two in Kishtwar and one near Banihal, left 11 persons, including six Army personnel, wounded. The wounded were airlifted to the Udhampur military hospital.

Official reports said one Army road opening party was engaged in sanitising the Jammu-Srinagar highway against any IED or landmines when it was hit by an IED which the militants had planted. Six Army men were wounded.

A group of militants hurled a grenade at a police station in Kishtwar but it struck a tree and nobody was hurt. However, in a bomb explosion at Kishtwar bus stand five civilians were wounded, three of them critically. Seven shops and four buses were damaged in the blast.

Four activists of the Awami Action Committee were wounded when scooter-borne militants hurled a grenade on the APHC headquarters in Srinagar today at a time when the party’s general council members were busy about deciding whether the offer for talks be accepted or rejected. The grenade fell on the lawn of the APHC headquarters.

There were five other grenade and IED explosions in various parts of the valley since last night in which at least 10 persons, including eight security personnel, were wounded. The militants hurled a grenade at a CRPF camp near Palhalan in Baramula district. It was followed by a similar attack on the BSF camp near Bandipore. These blasts were repeated at Awanitpora and Bijebeihara in South Kashmir and another near Chrar-i-Sharief.

Government functionaries said a series of explosions carried out by militants clearly indicated that the Pakistani agencies and forces were dead set to sabotage the peace process. The grenade attack on the APHC headquarters was a bid to force the Hurriyat to reject the offer for talks.

These functionaries said no attack had been carried out when the executive committee and the working committee members met on two separate days in Srinagar to discuss the offer for talks. But when the Pakistani agencies had received a hint that the APHC may accept the offer for talks a grenade attack was launched to unnerve the general council members so that the separatist conglomerate turned down the offer for talks.

The sources said the government had received reports that militants had drawn up a plan for further escalating the level of violence in Kashmir which could cast its shadow on the biannual durbar move. The government offices are scheduled to close in the winter capital on April 30 to be opened in the summer capital in Srinagar on May 1.


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