Monday, February 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

8 of two families killed
Angry villagers take to streets
Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 17
At least eight persons belonging to a minority community were massacred at Bambal Narla village in Rajouri district late last night.

According to the police, a group of militants barged into the houses of Nathu Ram and Suram Chand and started firing indiscriminately killing eight on the spot and wounding seven others.

According to the IG, Police, Mr P.L. Gupta, the Abdullah Bhai group of the Lashkar-e-Toiba are responsible for the carnage.

Those killed have been identified as Ashok Kumar, Bimla Devi, Pasli Devi, Shakuntala Devi, Baloo, Chhotu and Madhav Ram.

A police party was sent to the village and with the help of the villagers the wounded were admitted to a hospital where the condition of three was said to be critical.

Additional companies of security forces were sent to the area and a massive search has been ordered.

A pall of gloom fell on the village and its adjoining areas. People held demonstrations in protest against the incident and failure of the government to provide security cover to sensitive areas.

The Governor, Mr G.C. Saxena, and the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, while condemning the carnage said it was a sign of frustration on the part of the terrorists.

Senior BJP leaders condemned the massacre and said it was part of the terrorists’ plan to carry out ethnic cleansing in Poonch and Rajouri districts.

The Congress, National Conference and other political parties expressed shock over the incident and said it was part of the attempt to disrupt polling in the Jammu Lok Sabha constituency.

However, the police said since the militants had come under heavy pressure from the security forces they wanted to create tension by carrying out such massacres.

A militant and a civilian were killed in separate incidents in the Kashmir valley since yesterday, while security forces held four suspects and recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition during search operations.

The police claimed to have achieved a major success with the recovery of about 100 kg of explosives that were being transported to Ganderbal from here on Friday evening. Mr S.P. Vaid, DIG Police, Srinagar, said the seizure was made during a surprise checking based on a specific information on the Ganderbal road. The driver and the conductor of the bus were taken into custody.

Protest demonstrations were held at four places here today against the alleged arrest of 17 youths here. A large number of residents took to streets at Soura on the outskirts of Srinagar in protest against the arrests. Similar demonstrations were held at Chhanaora, Safakadal and Dalgate.

An unidentified militant was killed in an encounter with the security forces at Palpora in Pattan area of Baramula district yesterday. An AK rifle, three magazines, 56 rounds and a hand grenade were recovered from the site of the encounter. The encounter ensued when the militants opened fire on a search party, a police spokesman said here. Unidentified militants shot dead Dilawar Rather in Pattan area of Baramula when they intruded into his house yesterday.

Two suspected militants of Tehreek-e-Jehadi Islami were held from Baramula from whose possession two AK rifles, six magazines and 189 rounds were recovered, the police said here.

A suspected militant, Abdul Ghani Bhat, was held from Sumlar, Bandipore in Baramula district yesterday. On his instance, the police and security forces recovered an RPG, a pika gun, 510 AK rounds, 13 magazines, two silencers, two pistol silencers, four wireless sets, three rifle grenades, 17 remote control devices, two RPG shells, six anti-tank grenades, seven UBGL grenades and 45 detonators from a cowshed.Back


Hurriyat demands probe into killings

New Delhi, February 17
Condemning the gruesome massacre of eight persons, including six women, at Bhambal Narla village in Rajouri district last night, the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) today described the killings as “an act against humanity’’.

“The incident is unfortunate, heart-rending and an act against humanity,’’ senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani told UNI here over the phone from Srinagar.

Demanding an immediate probe by “an independent international organisation’’, the former Hurriyat Chairman said the people behind such “dastardly acts’’ should be exposed to prevent their recurrence.

“We have no faith in probe conducted by New Delhi,’’ the Hurriyat leader maintained.

According to the police, a group of 15 Pakistan-trained Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists barged into two houses of the same family while the residents were asleep and sprayed bullets on them indiscriminately, killing all of them on the spot.

As the ultras were fleeing, they fired upon the villagers, who had come out on hearing the gunshots, resulting in injuries to six persons, the police said, adding that all the victims were Hindus.

The Amnesty International and the Asia Watch should be allowed to conduct “an impartial inquiry’’ into the incident so that the guilty were punished, the Jamat-e-Islami leader said.

“Several agencies are active in Jammu and Kashmir to disrupt peace and harmony in the state...They need to be exposed,’’ he said. UNIBack

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