Thursday, September 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Army deployed in Gujarat
Ultras shot, temple siege ends; death toll rises to 37

Gandhinagar, September 25
A crack team of commandos shot dead two heavily armed terrorists at dawn today, ending the night-long siege of the Akshardham temple, even as the Army was deployed in sensitive areas of Gujarat.

A commando of the elite National Security Guards and two of the Gujarat police lost their lives in the operation.

Two handwritten letters in Urdu were found from the slain militants, claiming that they were members of a newly formed outfit, Tehrik-e-Kasak. The terrorists had lobbed about 20 hand grenades and fired indiscriminately from their AK-47 assault rifles during their 14-hour siege.

The death toll today rose to 37. The police said 34 civilians — 25 men, five women and four children — were among those killed.

At least 100 devotees, who had locked themselves in a temple hall after the militants struck, were safely taken out after the operation ended.

Security agencies throughout the country have been put on high alert, with special focus on important places of worship and minority pockets. The Army was deployed in sensitive areas of Gujarat which recently witnessed large-scale communal violence.

Mr L.K. Advani, who visited the temple complex this morning along with Chief Minister Narendra Modi, made an obvious reference to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s speech at the United Nations recently without taking his name. “Our enemy has been speaking of Gujarat in recent times. This shows they had hatched a plan for quite some time and the attack was carried out to execute this plot,” he said.

Mr Modi also said that the terrorist attack on the temple was carried out at the behest of Pakistan. He said terrorists were frustrated as they had failed to succeed in their designs to disrupt the Assembly poll in Jammu and Kashmir. Both Mr Advani and Mr Modi visited the injured in various hospitals.

Meanwhile, a bandh observed in Ahmedabad on a call by the Congress in protest against the massacre evoked a mixed response.

In Godhra this noon, a crude bomb exploded, spreading panic among the people who ran helter-skelter for cover. There were no casualties.

Last night, two persons were stabbed in Surat.

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat bandh called by the Congress in protest against Tuesday’s terror attack in the Akshardham Temple, evoked poor response in major cities in the state, while it affected normal life in small towns.

Life continued to be normal on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Business establishments were functioning and vehicles were plying as usual, but in the old walled city area, the bandh evoked a good response.

Business establishments, including branches of nationalised and private banks, did not function normally, while a few shops continued business with shutters down half way in the walled city. PTI, UNI


Tehrik-e-Kasak leaflets found from slain ultras

Gandhinagar, September 25
Leaflets of Tehrik-e-Kasak were found from the person of the slain militants who attacked the Akshardham temple, National Security Guard (NSG) officials said here today.

The officials informed Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani here about the recovery of the leaflets but did not give details.

Mr Advani was briefed among others by Chief Minister Narendra Modi and minister Ashok Bhat.

The leaflets suggested that the group appeared to be from Gujarat itself, NSG officials said.

Mr Advani said authorities will look into the details of the outfit. He said the slain ultras did not seem to be from Gujarat.

According to state police officials, the ultras were believed to be between 22 and 25 years.

Gujarat Director-General of Police K. Chakravarty said he had not heard about the Tehrik-e-Kasak outfit and it had come to his notice for the first time only after the recovery of the leaflets.

“We had general intelligence inputs calling for stepped-up vigilance and that soft targets might be chosen for attacks,” he said. PTI

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