Saturday, July 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ultras kill Awami Mahaz leader
Tribune News Service and agencies

Srinagar, July 5
Unidentified gunmen shot dead a leader of the Awami Mahaz (Peoples Front) and injured two others, including its chairman, in their office here his afternoon.

The police here said that militants fired upon Mr Ghulam Nabi Dar, Chairman of the Awami Mahaz, injuring him at the Chota Bazar office of the party here at about 12.30 p.m. today. During the shoot-out Anwar Hussain Banka, general secretary of the party, was killed on the spot. Another person, Habibullah, was also injured in the shoot-out.

Official sources said a group of militants entered the unguarded office of the party and fired upon the inmates with automatic weapons.

General secretary Banka, who received several bullet wounds, died before he could be shifted to hospital. The injured were admitted to the nearby SMHS hospital. Mr Dar was later rushed to the S.K. Institute of Medical Sciences at Soura in a critical condition.

The members of the Awami Mahaz are mostly former militants who have shun the path of violence and are working for peace in the valley.

The party also organised a peace rally from Srinagar to Delhi in March this year.

Senior police and security officials visited the spot.

A massive hunt has been launched to nab the militants responsible for the killing.

The Al-Jabbar regiment of the Jamait-ul-Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attack.

An official spokesman said the security forces and the Special Operation Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police in a joint operation gunned down two militants at Kuchhal in the Kishtwar area in the early hours today. Two AK rifles, six magazines, 60 rounds, four rocket launchers, two grenades and two pouches were seized from the possession of the slain militants.

Militants shot dead Hussain at Gunthak Dhar late last night while another person was killed at Bandipora.

JAMMU: Four persons, including a sarpanch and two ultras, were killed and a security jawan injured in the division since last night, official sources said on Friday.

The militants shot dead a sarpanch Sher Mohammad Rather, in the Chinga Balessa area of Doda district on Thursday night after forcibly entering his house, they said. He was a close associate of Pradesh Congress President Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Two militants of the Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HuJI) outfit were killed in an encounter with a joint patrolling party of the police and Border Security Force (BSF) at Luncha Village of Gool tehsil in Udhampur district on Thursday night, sources said.

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