Friday, December 21, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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Shelling across Nowshera sector
Tribune News Service and PTI

Jammu, December 20
Two civilians were wounded, one of them was shifted to Jammu Medical College, in continued Pakistani mortar shelling in the Nowshera area of Rajouri today.

Defence Ministry sources said that since yesterday, Pakistani troops resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing from heavy-calibre weapons on several border villages in the Nowshera sector, including Kalal and Kulsian.

The sources said that the Indian troops retaliated and destroyed three more Pakistani bunkers. Yesterday, six Pakistani bunkers had been hit in the Indian retaliatory fire.

More than 50 civilian families in the Nowshera sector have migrated to safer areas after several villages were rocked by Pakistani mortar shells which exploded with a deafening sound. However, no damage was caused.

The Pakistani troops also resorted to firing on Indian border villages in the R.S. Pora, Samba and Akhnoor sectors. In this belt, the Pakistani forces used small arms. The BSF jawans retaliated and silenced the Pakistan guns for a while.

Defence Ministry sources said that Pakistani troops opened fire on the Indian posts in the Keeri border area of Poonch this morning to provide fire cover to a group of militants who were being pushed into Poonch. The alert Army jawans and the police launched a joint operation and gunned down five intruders, who were Pakistani nationals. These five militants were equipped with assault rifles and large quantities of arms and ammunition.

The men of the Poonch Brigade received appreciation from the Army officers for having eliminated five Pakistani infiltrators before they could attack vital installations.

The sources disclosed that following military build-up by Pakistan across the border and on account of an offensive being launched by the Pakistan forces in Nowshera and other areas, the Indian troops have launched “Operation Preparedness”. Under this operation, “hot war deployment” has started and various sensitive areas are being covered by Army surveillance.

The ministry sources said that though the situation was not alarming and it was well under control, Pakistani troops were needling our patience.”

The sources said, “We are taking adequate measures to defend our borders and tackle militants within the state.” Despite preparations for meeting any challenge from across the LoC, “our troops have been directed to step up counter-insurgency operations.”

According to these sources while the LoC in the Kashmir valley was quiet, the border in Jammu remained tense for another day today as a result of unprovoked shelling and firing by Pakistani troops.

Meanwhile, militants struck in Dandkot village of Darhal area in Rajouri early this morning and killed two civilians, Mohammad Bashir and Mohammad Shafi. The militants barged into their house and dragged the two brothers out of the house and gunned them down.

Meanwhile, eight militants, including five belonging to Pakistan-based outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba, and two civilians were killed in Jammu and Kashmir, where an infiltration bid was foiled and a large quantity of explosives seized, Army sources said here today.

In a separate incident, two villagers and three militants were killed during a fierce gunbattle between security men and militants in the Darhal area of Rajouri district.

The troops seized one AK rifle, two pistols and a large quantity of explosives.

SRINAGAR: Eight persons, including five militants and two Army personnel, were killed and five securitymen injured as militants targeted a police station, an Army convoy and a security picket in the Kashmir valley since last night, official and defence sources said today.

Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants and an Army jawan were killed and four securitymen injured in a fierce encounter near Watlab in Baramulla district of north Kashmir yesterday, the sources said and identified two of the deceased militants as Bashir Ahmad Ganai and Ghulam Mohiuddin Ganai, both local militants.

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5 kg RDX seized in Gujarat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 20
The CBI and the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Gujarat police have recovered a huge quantity of arms and explosives, including over 5 kg of RDX in Santhalpur village of Banaskantha district in Gujarat.

The seizure, which included 10 hand grenades, two rifle grenades, 5.20 kg RDX approximately, one rocket, two anti-personnel mines, two pistols, two electronic timer gadget, three stick grenades, one detonator for RDX, one cordex wire, 195 cm approx; one 180 cm fuse wire and 10 detonator caps of hand grenades, was made on the Radhanpur-Santhalpur road, the CBI said here today.

In addition, a slip of printed letterhead of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), with a site plan and some Urdu/Arabic writings on has been recovered. The hand grenades and their detonator caps were found wrapped in Urdu newspapers’ sheets. These Urdu newspapers were published from Hyderabad, Sind, in Pakistan.

The investigation revealed that this consignment was part of the consignment of arms/ammunitions meant for Asif Raja, a LeT militant who was killed in an encounter with the Rajkot police.

Further investigation to unearth the conspiracy was on, the release added.

Meanwhile apart from busting two Pakistani-based terrorist groups Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, for their alleged involvement on the Parliament House attacks, a senior police official in the Special Cell involved in the ongoing investigations confirmed: “We cannot rule out other modules of militant groups operating in the Capital.”

The official on conditions of anonymity said: “We are taking all measures to avoid another December 13, and working towards breaking their entire network to thwart their evil designs.”

The intelligence agencies have even alerted senior officials that more than 200 terrorists belonging to various militant groups have infiltrated into the Capital, and have asked the security agencies to be more vigilant to avoid any untoward incident.Back

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