Sunday, March 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Militants burn houses of one community

Jammu, March 15
Militants set ablaze six abandoned houses in Nerolai village in Thannamadi sector of Rajauri district late last night, a senior police officer said today.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Rajauri, Prithvi Raj Manhas told UNI here today that militants descended on the village from the nearby hills and sprinkled kerosene on the empty houses and set these afire.

The houses belonged to the minority community, which had migrated. There was no report of any casualty in the incident, Mr Manhas said. A police party has reached the spot to take stock of the situation, he added.

This is the fourth major militancy-related incident in the Rajauri-Poonch belt in the past three days.

Only one militant belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba, was holed up in a Poonch hotel when a clash erupted last evening, leaving seven, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police, dead, the police today clarified.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Poonch) Mukesh Singh told UNI that there was only one militant in Anand hotel in the gunbattle with security men yesterday. The slain militant belonged to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit, he informed.

Six civilians and DSP Manjeet Singh and head constable Manohar Lal were killed in the clash.

Life in the Poonch town was paralysed today as shopkeepers and traders observed bandh in the wake of yesterday’s incident, the SSP said. Educational institutions were also closed for the day. There have been no reports of any untoward incident.

One more person injured in yesterday’s attack by militants on a police party in Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir died in the hospital raising the toll in the incident to six, an official spokesman said today.

Mohammad Aslam who was among the eight injured succumbed to his injuries in the district hospital at Poonch last night, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that certain areas of the town had been sealed to nab the militants believed to have escaped from the hotel where they had taken shelter after the attack.

He said, the militant killed yesterday in the prolonged encounter with security forces at the hotel, was a Pakistani.

The Army smashed a militant hide-out in Doda district last evening and seized 200 kg of RDX.

According to an Army spokesman here, on a tip-off that the RDX was concealed at the hideout, the jawans launched an operation and seized the explosive.

In another operation in the Mahore area in Udhampur district, security forces smashed another hide-out last evening seizing 42 rounds of AK ammunition, three AK magazines, 24 UMG rounds, two hand grenades and eight UBGL grenades, the spokesman added. UNI, PTI


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