Saturday, November 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

7 CRPF men die in Lashkar attack
Tribune News Service and agencies

A paramilitary trooper stands guard as Kashmiri paramedics push a stretcher
A paramilitary trooper stands guard as Kashmiri paramedics push a stretcher carrying the body of a jawan inside a hospital in Srinagar on Friday.
euters photo

Srinagar, November 22
In the first suicide attack by militants after the new government took over early this month, at least seven CRPF jawans were killed at their camp here early today.

Two militants wearing police uniform and carrying grenades and automatic rifles were also killed when security personnel returned the fire. Four jawans were also injured. The attack took place hours before the arrival of the Kashmir Committee led by former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani to hold talks with separatist groups and leaders.

According to reports, two militants and a CRPF jawan were killed on the spot when militants attacked the highly guarded Hotel Pamposh on Residency Road at 6.30 a.m. today. Swift action by BSF personnel deployed in the area led to the killing of another militant and prevented further damage. Two CRPF Battalions, 92 and 113, are camping inside the heavily-guarded hotel near Lal Chowk. Nine CRPF jawans who received bullet injuries were rushed to hospital where six of them later succumbed to their injuries.

A BSF spokesman told The Tribune here that the militants were suspected to be from the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit. The suicide attack by LeT also assumes significance following the release of its chief, Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed in Pakistan recently. A spokesman of LeT later told local news agencies that the outfit was responsible for the attack.

The two militants were wearing Jammu and Kashmir Police uniforms. While one of them was wearing a barret cap without a badge, the other had a scarf over his head. Two identity cards recovered from them bore the names of Sarfaraz and Akram, painters from Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh. Two AK rifles, two magazines with 12 rounds of ammunition and three grenades were recovered from the scene.

The DIG (Kashmir Range) said the police was looking into various aspects. The CRPF also ordered an enquiry into the circumstances which led to the suicide attack at the heavily-guarded installation in the heart of the city.

Those killed in the incident included Head Constable Nandji Singh, Constables Nimbu Lal and Pyare Lal Gupta and cook Kalaam Singh of the 93 Bn of the CRPF and constable Kishan Bahadur and cook Chhaat Ram of the 113 Bn.

Giving details of the incident, a BSF spokesman told The Tribune that the attack was launched when a CRPF vehicle with a group of jawans was entering the main gate of the hotel at about 6.25 a.m. One of the militants was engaged in a scuffle with a guard when he opened the gate. The militant lobbed a grenade inside the hotel premises while another exploded himself close to him, killing himself and the guard, Kishen Bahadur at the gate. Meanwhile, another militant entered the camp from the rear and intruded into the mess. The militant opened indiscriminate fire on the jawans, leading to injuries to nine of them. While trying to escape from the main door, the militant was shot dead by BSF personnel of the 127 Bn deployed in the area.

Elsewhere in the state, a BSF jawan was seriously injured when a militant shot at him in the heart of the city here today.

Constable M. Gundapa was admitted to hospital with serious bullet wounds. BSF sources said.

Earlier official sources had said that Gundapa, who was rushed to hospital, was declared brought dead.

The incident took place near the busy Naaz Crossing in the heart of the city around 2.45 p.m.

The BSF immediately sealed the entire area and launched a hunt to nab the militant, the sources said.

A report from Jammu said a youth was injured in a landmine blast in the border town of Arnia near the border 20 km from here today, official sources said.

Naresh Kumar, who was in the fields in the border hamlet of Pindi stepped on a landmine near the IB this afternoon in the Arnia area of Jammu district, the sources said.

He was critically wounded, they said.


Act tough, Centre tells Mufti

New Delhi, November 22
Expressing concern over the terrorist strike in Jammu and Kashmir today, the BJP said it was time the Congress-PDP government in the state took strong measures in tackling terrorism rather than putting POTA on hold.

"The terrorist strike shows that there appears to be no let-up in the killing of innocent men, women and children by these Pakistan-sponsored terrorists," party spokesman V.K. Malhotra told reporters here. PTI

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