M A I N   N E W S

Militants take eight villagers hostage
Three killed in blasts
Tribune News Service and PTI

Srinagar, October 20
Militants today took hostage eight persons, including a Muslim cleric, who were sent by the security forces inside a house to persuade them to surrender, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district even as two persons were killed and 57 hurt in two grenade blasts in the valley today, sources said.

The security forces laid siege to the house in Thraren village at Shopian today, some 65 km from here, as tension ran high in the area.

The security personnel, who had launched a combing operation in the village following a tip-off about presence of militants there, came under fire from the hiding militants.

To prevent any loss of life or destruction to property, the security forces sent eight civilians, including an Imam of a local mosque, inside the house to persuade the militants to surrender, who believed to have took them as captives, the sources said.

There was some initial exchange of fire between the security forces and the hiding militants that stopped after sometime, the sources said, adding no one was injured in the shootout.

The security forces then asked eight villagers, including an Imam of a local mosque, to go inside the house to persuade the militants to surrender.

The security personnel told the villagers, who went inside the house at around 10.30 am to assure the militants that no harm would be done to them if they laid down arms.

Reinforcements were rushed to the village and top district and police officials were camping at the scene.

The number of the militants present in the house was not known.

On Saturday, the security forces had shot dead two militants, who took refuge in a shopping complex here after making an abortive bid to storm Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s residence, ending a 24-hour stand-off.

Meanwhile, two pedestrians were killed and at least 55 (57, according to PTI) others injured in separate grenade explosions in Srinagar and Anantnag towns today, while seven persons, including two security personnel were killed and four others injured in Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday.

A civilian was killed and 50 got injured when militants hurled a grenade towards a security forces’ vehicle near Batamaloo general bus stand here this afternoon. The grenade missed the intended target and exploded on the road causing injuries to 51 pedestrians at about 3.30 pm this afternoon. One of the injured, Abdul Rashid Sheikh from Saimoh, Tral in Pulwama district, later succumbed to his injuries while being shifted to the hospital.

In another grenade explosion, one civilian was killed when militants hurled a grenade towards a security forces picket at Lal Chowk in Anantnag town this afternoon. The grenade exploded away from the target and killed one person, Mohammad Yusuf Wagay from Dooru, and injured five (seven, says PTI) others.

JAMMU: A villager was killed and two Special Police Officers (SPOs) were injured in two powerful IED explosions triggered by militants in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir last night, official sources said here on Monday. 

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