February 2000 News

Another blast rocks Reasi

1 February 2000
Daily Excelsior

JAMMU: A powerful explosion rocked Reasi town late last evening creating panic among the inhabitants, who turned violent and attacked the house of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM). This was third explosion in the once peaceful Reasi town, which signalled intensification of militant activities in the otherwise peaceful areas of Udhampur district.

Meanwhile, a complete bandh was observed in Reasi town and adjoining areas today against stepped-up militant activities. People also took out a processionin the town shouting anti-police and anti-administration slogans.

Police said a powerful blast rocked the heart of the town at 1900 hours last evening. The blast, which had been engineered with a planted explosive device, took place near a garbage dumping site.

The area around the scene of explosion was deserted at the time of blast and, as a result, there was no casualty or major damage. A police party from Reasi police station rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area. Police conducted searches in the town and adjoining areas but no arrest could be madeimmediately.

Local people and shopkeepers of the town turned violent after getting the report of another blast and marched in a procession. Raising slogans against policeand civil administration, the mob attacked the house of SDM Reasi Mr Sharmaand smashed window panes of the house. SDM, however, escaped unhurt inthe mob attack.

Police intervened and the crowd dispersed.

In the morning, shopkeepers downed their shutters and observed a complete bandh in Reasi to protest against failure of the police and administration tocheck the increasing activities of militants. Traffic was alsonít allowed to ply inthe town by the agitated people.

People said that Deputy Commiss-ioner Udhampur, SSP Udhampur and othersenior officers had recently reviewed the security scenario in Reasi town aftertwo blasts. However, despite high level review of the situation no steps weretaken by the police to check militant activities from further spread, theyalleged.

People charged that police and para-military personnel hardly carry out anysearch operation in the area, which has given anti-national elements a chanceto strike again and again.

Meanwhile, police said that a massive search and cordon operation has beenlaunched in Reasi and its adjoining areas to apprehend the militants,responsible for explosions. Some suspects have also been rounded up andwere being questioned, they said.

There were reports that upper reaches of Reasi have been surrounded by themilitants, who struck occasionally in the town to make their presence felt andterrorise the people.

Congress (I) leader from Reasi Mr Jugal Kishore has strongly condem-ned theexplosion and charged police for failure to check militant activities.


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