Wednesday, August 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ultras open fire at Jammu railway station, kill 9
Lashkar hand suspected; Call for bandh today
M. L. Kak
Tribune News Service

The N. Railway has opened two query offices, one in Ambala (phone 0171-631275/ 610596) and another at Saharanpur (0132-648453).

Jammu, August 7
Militants today rocked the security bandobast at the Jammu railway station when they opened indiscriminate fire on passengers, killing at least nine and wounding more than 30.

The police swung into action and eliminated a militant and launched a massive search for the remaining rebels.

For over two hours there was confusion and chaos as passengers ran helter-skelter to avoid being caught in the crossfire between the militants and the security forces.

The police said the militants, one of them in combat dress, resorted to indiscriminate firing at the station soon after getting off from Ahmedabad-Jammu Express at around 2010 hours.

Eight persons succumbed to injuries at the Jammu Medical College and another in the Army Hospital here. Two militants escaped from the station using an autorickshaw.

Several passengers and their relatives and friends were injured in the firing by the militants at platform I, which was splattered with blood and severed human flesh.

Police sources said the attack was carried out by suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militants. They said the ultras had boarded the train somewhere between Pathankot and Jammu.

An automatic weapon was recovered from the dead militant and another from the platform left behind by two of his accomplices.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena activists stoned the Army hospital where the dead militant has been kept, and a vehicle carrying District Magistrate R.K. Goel and Senior Superintendent of Police, protesting the killings. Mr Goel and the police official escaped unhurt.

The Sena called a 12-hour strike in Jammu city tomorrow amidst indications that the authorities would impose a curfew in the wake of mounting tension and possibility of violence.

Four of the nine mowed down by the militants have so far been identified. They include Nilu Singh (25) from Uttar Pradesh, Parameshri Devi (42) from Ludhiana, Subedar Yagdiv Singh and Constable Ramesh Lal of BSF. The dead included two unidentified sadhus.

As news went round in the town, several hundred people rushed to the railway station to find out the welfare of their relations.

It is for the first time that the militants have resorted to indiscriminate fire at a railway platform. In the past militants would carry out bomb blasts on the railway track between Jammu and Samba. Several passengers were killed and more than 50 civilians injured in such incidents in the past 10 areas.

According to eyewitness accounts, Army personnel at the Jammu railway station were heading for the a transit camp. Possibly, the militants had information about them and hence, they planned their strike.

As per eyewitness accounts, and over 30 were wounded. More than 20 wounded passengers have been admitted to the Jammu Medical College. Doctors said the condition of seven of the injured was critical.

Meanwhile, at least two militants, including the mastermind behind the massacre of 17 persons in the Kishtwar area on Saturday, were killed by the police in two encounters in Doda last night.

Police sources said here this morning that on a specific tip-off, the Jammu and Kashmir police launched an operation last night in the remote area of Padder, about 15 km away from Lidder village, the site of the massacre.


1.5 lakh ready for proxy war
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7
For those who have been wondering how the pot of terrorism has been on the boil in Jammu and Kashmir for the past 12 years despite more than 20,000 terrorists having been killed during this period, the latest assessment of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government reveals that foreign mercenaries and terrorists are still being infiltrated.

Between 200 to 250 militants are being pushed into Jammu and Kashmir every month though the security forces liquidated as many as 450 terrorists in the troubled border state in June and July, this year.

A top official of the Government of India’s security and strategic apparatus disclosed to The Tribune on Tuesday that the more alarming fact was that Pakistan was maintaining a “reserve” of about 1.5 lakh men for continuing its proxy war against India.

The official revealed that this veritable army of reserve terrorists comprised mainly uneducated and unemployed persons who were put on the payrolls of the drug money-rich Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and given a spiritual lollypop of “jehad”.

“It is a question of their daily bread and butter. The indoctrination of jehad is just a sugar coating for the bitter death pill,” the official remarked.

Asked to elaborate on the information that between 200 and 250 militants were still infiltrating into India and what it meant, the official angrily remarked, “What does it mean? Obviously it means that the security apparatus has failed to make the LOC infiltration-proof. It is the Army’s responsibility to ensure that this (infiltration and exfiltration of terrorists from the LOC) does not happen.”

However, the official said despite this “harsh reality”, there were several achievements of the security forces, particularly the Army, which exerted pressure on Pakistan’s proxy war machinery. Consider the following facts :

Infiltration of terrorists across the LOC at the rate of 200 to 250 per month is still “far more acceptable” than the situation in the early nineties when thousands used to cross over into India and many a time, one single batch of infiltrators used to be in hundreds. 

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