Sunday, April 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Top Hizb militant shot in encounter
One dead, 29 hurt in two bus stand blasts
Tribune News Service and PTI

Srinagar, April 12
The police claimed to have achieved a major success with the killing of the communication chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen in an encounter in south Kashmir last night even as 30 persons were wounded in a series of grenade blasts in Jammu and Kashmir.

A police spokesman said here that Mohammad Yusuf Hajam, alias Qamar-ul-Zaman, was killed in an encounter with a joint patrolling party of the police and Border Security Force (BSF) in the Yarwan forest of Pulwama district. A resident of Chandian Punjan in Anantnag district, Hajam was holding the rank of deputy divisional commander of south Kashmir and was active since 1990.

The encounter took place when the joint patrol party noticed some suspicious movement of some persons in the Yarwan forest and challenged them to stop. The troops were fired at by the suspected militants hiding there and they retaliated the fire. The exchange continued for about half an hour. The body of an unidentified militant, who was later identified as the Hizb communications chief, was found during a search at the site of encounter.

One AK rifle, three magazines, one pistol with magazines, one wireless set and two hand grenades were seized from the site of encounter.

The militants accompany the communications chief, managed to escape, the police said.

Meanwhile, one persons was killed and 29, including two Army personnel, were injured when militants exploded grenades at two crowded bus stands in Anantnag district, official sources here said.

The first grenade attack, aimed at security personnel, took place at Qazigund bus stand on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, around 2.40 pm, injuring 20 civilians and two Army personnel.

Three hours later, militants hurled a grenade at a security patrol at the Kulgam bus stop which missed its target and exploded elsewhere, injuring six pedestrians. The injured were admitted to hospitals where the condition of six persons was stated to be serious.

The militants fled after hurling grenades which triggered panic among the crowds.

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