M A I N   N E W S

Major killed in encounter
Policeman dies in gunbattle
Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 30
A policeman was killed and eight Army jawans and security personnel were wounded in a gunbattle here with terrorists who injured a top IAS officer, Mr K.B. Pillai, while he was returning home from a private hospital early this morning. One of the two terrorists has been killed and the security forces have cordoned the Mahamaya forest where the other one is believed to be hiding. In another incident, a Major , a Naik and a self-styled commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in an encounter at Ghambir Moughlan in Rajouri district.

In the first incident, a sniffer dog of the crime branch of the police, which was rushed to track down the terrorists, was also shot dead by the terrorists. Constable Des Raj, who was the master of the sniffer dog, was killed when the dog led him to the place where the terrorists were hiding.

Four jawans of the Army and an equal number of policemen were injured during the encounter.

It was a fierce battle as the Army personnel fired more than 50 rocket launchers in about four hours. An exchange of fire was continuing till the filing of this report. Army and CRPF personnel hurled hand grenades at the place where the other terrorist is suspected to be hiding.

The two terrorists are learnt to have infiltrated this morning from the border at Pouni Chak, near here, where they fired a few shots. They forcibly took away a two-wheeler and approached the city. However, the scooter skided and they got injured. Thereafter, they hijacked an auto-rickshaw belonging to Joginder Singh at gunpoint and insisted him to carry them to the railway station.

However, both of them, wearing police uniform, got down at Narwal on the other side of the city, as by then the police had been alerted.

One of them indiscriminately fired at the Ambassador car of Mr Pillai, who was on the way to his residence at Gandhi Nagar. Mr Pillai, who is the Director-General of the Institute of Management and Public Administration having the status of Chief Secretary, received an injury on his left arm from a splinter, which was removed by doctors at Gandhi Nagar Hospital. His security officer, Surjeet Singh Manhas, and driver Pawan Kumar have been referred to the medical college as their injuries were severe.

The terrorists had left behind a bag in the auto-rickshaw. The police rushed the dog squad, which followed the militants into the forest. On seeing movement of the police, the terrorists fired at them, killing a policeman along with a sniffer dog.

The Director-General of Police, Mr Gopal Sharma, and senior officers of the Army reached the spot.

Meanwhile, in another incident, two Army personnel, including a Major, and a self-styled commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in an encounter at Ghambir Moughlan in Rajouri district. The Army personnel have been identified as Major Udhan Singh and Naik Ranjeet Singh.

The terrorists had set up ambushes in the area and threw grenades at Army personnel.

The killed terrorist has been identified as Abu Hamza of Pakistan.

SRINAGAR: A block president of the National Conference (NC) was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the frontier district of Kupwara on Sunday morning.

Official sources said unidentified gunmen shot at and critically wounded NC block president Mohammad Ashraf Bhat at Pajwa Vilgam.

Mr Bhat was immediately rushed to hospital where he was declared brought dead. UNI 

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