Sunday, November 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

12 die as militants blow up bus
Major among six Army men killed
Tribune News Service & Agencies

Srinagar, November 23
At least 12 persons — six Army men, a bus driver, three women and two children — were killed and 36 injured when militants blow up the bus in which they were travelling by triggering a landmine explosion at Lower Munda, 80 km south of here, on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway this morning.

According to reports received here the civil bus, carrying Army personnel and their families as part of an Army convoy, was on its way from Srinagar to Jammu. The explosion took place around 11 a.m. at Lower Munda in Qazigund area of Anantnag district. A Major was among the six Army men killed.

Those injured in the Lower Munda incident have been shifted to the 92 Army base hospital here, where the condition of about 20 of them is stated to be critical, a defence spokesman said. The bus fell into a deep gorge due to the impact of the explosion. Helicopters were pressed into service to evacuate the injured from the spot.

Two pro-Pakistan outfits, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-e-Jehad-e-Islami, claimed responsibility for the blast, saying it was a response to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s assertion that militancy was on its last legs.

However, Hizbul Mujahideen contested the claim of the two outfits, saying that its activists had carried out the blast.

Elsewhere in the valley, seven ultras, a constable and a soldier were among 11 persons killed during the past 24 hours.

Official sources said militants fired two rifle grenades at the high-security Karan Nagar area which exploded at some distance from the headquarters of many BSF battalions, besides the office of the BSF intelligence chief. No one was injured in the attack.

A report from Baramula said militants fired rockets towards BSF headquarters at Madar Bandipora in north Kashmir last night and then opened heavy fire. Security forces retaliated and the exchange continued for about an hour. A BSF spokesman said the rockets fell outside the camp without causing any damage.

Security forces gunned down five militants in three encounters in the frontier district of Kupwara. A large cache of arms and ammunition was seized from the slain militants.

Official sources said a junior commissioned officer (JCO) lost his life and three others were wounded in one of these encounters at Natnusa.

Militants shot dead Hamidullah, a medical assistant in the Central Jail here, at Kathidarwaza this afternoon while a surrendered militant was killed at Pulwama last evening.

The security forces killed two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Surankot area of Poonch district today.

The slain terrorists have been identified as Shamir Khan, self-styled district commander, and Tahir Rathore, alias Jaffar Rathore, self-styled area commander of the outfit, both from Rawalkot in Pakistan.

Two AK rifles, eight magazines, 149 rounds, three hand grenades and a radio set were seized from the militants.

A constable of the Jammu and Kashmir police was shot dead by gunmen at Jehangir Chowk, near here, this evening. Official sources said militants showered bullets from close range on constable Mohammad Ashraf. He was shifted to hospital, where he was declared dead.

The security forces busted a hideout in Kishtwar area of Doda district last evening and seized about 25 kg of RDX.

In another search operation, the security forces seized a magazine, 33 rounds, a Chinese hand grenade, 10 pencil cells and a photo album of militants in Gool area of Udhampur district, the sources said.


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