M A I N   N E W S

1 dead, 25 hurt in Doda attack
Ultras target Cong rally
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 14
One Congress activist was killed and 25 persons were injured, seven of them seriously, when terrorists hurled a grenade at a Congress election rally in Banihal town of Doda district on the Jammu-Srinagar highway today. Kashmir Health Minister Lal Singh, Congress candidate for the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat, escaped unhurt in the attack.

The police said the terrorists came to the venue of the election rally in a vehicle and threw the grenade in the compound of the rest house where Mr Lal Singh was addressing a rally. The blast triggered panic and the people started running for shelter.

Army personnel immediately sealed the gates of the rest house and started a search in the area. Army doctors reached the spot to provide treatment to the injured.

The DSP of the area, Mr Yogeshwar Sharma, was among those injured.

The injured were first taken to the Banihal sub-district hospital from where 18 of them were later shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment, the sources said, adding injured Congress activist Sikander Khan died on way to Srinagar.

Mr Lal Singh, who is facing Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, Minister of State for Defence and BJP candidate, and Mr Najeeb Surawardhy of the National Conference, in the Udhampur constituency, was these days extensively touring the Doda district for his campaign.

In another attack, Ms Mufti escaped unhurt in Anantnag district.

Meanwhile, a report from Srinagar said three persons were injured tonight in a grenade explosion in the Dal Gate area of the city.

The police said the explosion took place around 8.30 p.m. and added that the injured included a traffic policeman.

SRINAGAR: A plot to target politicians in and outside Jammu and Kashmir, including PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, ahead of Parliamentary elections was scuttled when the Army gunned down a self-styled Divisional Commander of Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Toiba outfit on the outskirts of Srinagar, a senior Army officer said today.

The militant Bashir Ahmad Khan alias Abu Kashan, a resident of Sargodha in Pakistan, was killed in an encounter by the troops of 2 Rashtriya Rifles at Shaliteng Bund near local unit of HMT in Zainakote area last night, Brigadier A.K. Choudhary told reporters here.

Terming his killing as a major success, Choudhary said Kashan was heading a three-member suicide squad and had sneaked into the city a month ago to target politicians.

Hurriyat Conference Chairman Maulana Mohammad Abbass Ansari, who has held two rounds of talks with Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani on Kashmir issue and Finance Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig, who survived an attack last week during an election rally at Uri, were also on the hit list of the squad, the Army officer said.

He said a diary recovered from the possession of the slain militant revealed that the militant, before sneaking into the valley, was camping in Jammu and was functioning as the commander for South India of the outfit. PTI

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