Saturday, July 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

J&K minister hurt in attack
Ultras hurl grenade: 3 dead, 33 hurt

Srinagar, July 4
Jammu and Kashmir Rural Development Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed today suffered splinter wounds when militants hurled a grenade and opened fire on him that killed three persons and injured 33 in Anantnag district.

Unidentified militants lobbed a grenade and fired at Sayeed, a key Congress minister in the PDP-led coalition government, when he was inspecting a primary health centre and the office of the local Block Development Officer at Larnoo village in Kokernag, his constituency, 80 km from here.

He suffered splinter injuries in his left leg. His bodyguards retaliated forcing the militants to flee.

The headmaster of a local school, Mr Ali Mohammad Bha, was killed on the spot in the attack while 26 others, including seven policemen, were injured.

Pro-Pakistan Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM) claimed that the attack was carried out jointly by its activists and those belonging to the Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HUJI).

Sayeed’s Public Relations Officer, Mohammad Akbar, Assistant Information Officer of the state Information Department and his three security guards were among those injured.

This was the second attack on Sayeed and third on any minister in the valley since the coalition government led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed assumed office in November last year.

Sayeed was attacked by militants at his Kokernag residence early this year, while Finance Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beigh survived an attempt on his life when ultras triggered a blast in Baramulla district of north Kashmir in April.

The sources said Sayeed was escorted by his guards to the nearby block medical office and was later shifted to Srinagar for treatment.

All other injured were also removed to hospital and the condition of five of them was stated to be serious.

Reinforcements from the police and other security agencies rushed to the scene and a massive hunt has been launched to nab the ultras involved in the attack.

Sayeed was shifted to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar from the police hospital where he was brought along with his injured police guards.

“His (Sayeed’s) condition looked stable but we are not taking any chances and he is being examined thoroughly,” a senior doctor at the hospital said.

Meanwhile, security forces gunned down an unidentified militant, arrested seven others and recovered a huge cache of arms and explosives, including 75 kg of RDX in overnight operations in Kashmir Valley, official sources said. — PTI

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