Monday, June 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Fortify defence set-ups: Gen Vij
Tribune News Service & PTI

Jammu, June 29
The Union Minister of State for Home, Mr Hiren Pathak, and the Army Chief, Gen N.C. Vij, today arrived here to review the security arrangements. They visited the military station at Sunjawan where 12 Army personnel were killed by terrorists in a suicide attack yesterday.

Both came here separately and held meetings with senior officers at Sunjawan over the security arrangements.

Mr Pathak told reporters before leaving for Srinagar that Pakistan-sponsored terrorists resorted to such acts whenever India took some peace initiatives to restore normalcy.

He said India’s desire for peace should not be considered its weakness. “We are prepared to face any situation and will not be cowed down by such actions,” he added.

Meanwhile, a Major of the Army was killed during an encounter with terrorists in the Lah area of Rajouri district today. Two terrorists were shot dead during the encounter and two soldiers were injured.

General Vij held a meeting with top military officers and reviewed the situation. He also visited the Army hospital where he met the wounded soldiers.

The bodies of the soldiers killed yesterday have been sent to their native places.

The military authorities had yesterday refused to identify the slain soldiers. However, the list of the deceased obtained from other sources indicates that eight of them were of the rank of Lance Naik and other were sepoys. Among the injured is Lt Nishant Kumar.

General Vij, who arrived here this morning from New Delhi, was briefed by the GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt-Gen Hari Prashad and GOC, 16 Corps, Lt-Gen T.P.S. Brar, official sources said.

General Vij reviewed the security set-up of all Army installations in the state and called for immediate fortification of all of them.

Mr Pathak, who was accompanied by the Additional Secretary and the Joint Secretary (Home), reviewed the security arrangements for the forthcoming Amarnath pilgrimage.

The minister visited the MAM stadium here from where the pilgrims will start their journey for Pahalgam. He also went to other places where arrangements for the lodging of the pilgrims have been made.

Nearly 98,000 pilgrims have so far registered themselves for the pilgrimage at various registration centres in the country.


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