M A I N   N E W S

Omar, Farooq survive bomb attack
NC blames Mufti govt
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 24
Mr Omar Abdullah, President of the opposition National Conference, and his father, Dr Farooq Abdullah, had a miraculous escape when an IED explosion took place at mourning prayers for a slain party leader at Anantnag town, about 55 km south of here, this morning. Two civilians were seriously injured.

The National Conference patron and former Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, other senior leaders and a number of party workers had gathered at Sarnal in Anantnag town for mourning prayers of the assassinated party leader and former minister, Safdar Ali Beigh. Beigh was shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside his residence in the locality on Thursday.

Wali Mohammad Bhat and Ghulam Hassan Wani of the same locality were seriously injured in the explosion, while several others escaped with minor injuries, the police said. The seriously injured have been admitted to the SMHS Hospital. Their condition is stated to be critical.

The explosion took place at 11-50 a m on the roadside when Mr Omar Abdullah was about to enter the cemetery to offer special prayers for the deceased leader. Several vehicles, including a vehicle fitted with a jammer allotted to the former Union Minister, were partially damaged.

Blaming the Mufti-led coalition government for the two attacks within four days in the same area, Omar Abdullah demanded a high-level inquiry by the Centre into today’s attack. “We do not have faith in the state government”, he told mediapersons here soon after his return from Anantnag. Mr Omar Abdullah alleged that Mufti Sayeed wanted to “physically eliminate and wipe out” the NC leadership.

He claimed that the second attack in four days in the home town of Mufti Sayeed was an ample evidence to prove that the government was involved in such attacks. He alleged that the mobile jammer vehicle was not “properly functioning” leading to the explosion.

“Then what is the use of the jammer”, he asked, adding that two leaders with Z plus security were in the area and the authorities concerned had not even conducted a proper anti-sabotage check. It was the responsibility of the government to provide foolproof security to him and his father, Dr Farooq Abdullah.

The Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir Range, Mr K. Rajendra Kumar, said the police would find out whether there was a technical fault in the jammer. He did not rule out the possibility of the militants having upgraded their technology to carry out explosions despite the presence of a jammer.

Top National Conference leaders at a meeting with the Governor, Lt Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), on Friday alleged that NC leaders were denied security cover, which led to the killing of Safdar Ali Beigh in a market.

Describing allegations regarding the killing of Beigh as false and misleading, an official spokesman said here yesterday that among all political parties of the state the maximum security personnel were deployed for the protection of the NC workers and leaders.

The spokesman said at least 393 PSOs were protecting NC leaders and political activists. Of these, 148 PSOs were with M.Ps and MLAs of the party alone. As many as 146 security vehicles had been given to party leaders with free fuel and 158 security guards were deployed at the residences of the party leaders and activists, he added.

Referring to the allegation that slain NC leader Baig was not provided adequate security, the spokesman said the former minister had been provided sufficient security cover, including two PSOs and one police Gypsy (No. PG-0412-02 N) driven by a police constable. Five policemen were put on guard duty of Safdar Ali Beigh, he added.

Describing the killing of Beig as an unfortunate event and expressing shock over it, the spokesman said the protected political leaders should avoid unnecessarily putting their lives to risk.

PTI adds: The police said the attack on Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq could not be construed as a security lapse.

“It is a desperate attempt by militants to show their presence. This shall not be construed as security lapse,” Director-General of Police Gopal Sharma said here, adding that all necessary security drills were conducted before the NC leaders’ visit to the graveyard in Phalgam district to attend the fourth day ceremony of their party leader.



Mufti orders probe into attack

Srinagar, October 24
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today ordered an inquiry into an IED attack on opposition National Conference chief Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah at Sarnal in Anantnag.

Describing the incident as “shocking”, Mufti Sayeed said acts like these were “the handiwork of enemies of peace who wanted to prolong the misery and agony of the people.”

The Chief Minister asked the Director-General of Police to institute an inquiry into the incident.

“When the winds of peace were blowing throughout the subcontinent, particularly in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, such elements were resorting to violent means, killing and injuring innocent people,” he said. — PTI


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