Colonel dies, Kargil war Brigadier hurt in ambush
1 March 2001
The Asian Age
Jammu: An Army colonel and a soldier were killed instantly while a brigadier and two more soldiers were wounded in a militant ambush in Kashmir’s southern town of Anantnag on Thursday afternoon. One of the militants, a 60-year-old Pakistan national, was also killed in the ensuing firefight between the two sides, which also claimed the lives of two civilians and left another two injured, the police said. The brigadier injured in the ambush in Anantnag’s otherwise congested Janglat Mandi area is Bikram Singh, a high-profile officer who became a household name across the country and would be known outside the state as the Indian Army’s spokesperson during the Kargil war. Brigadier Singh, whose condition was stated to be serious, was later airlifted to New Delhi for specialised treatment, defence sources here said. Sources said militants opened indiscriminate fire on the heavily-guarded motorcade of Brig. Bikram Singh, who is in charge of counter-insurgency operations in South Kashmir, including Anantnag town. Colonel J.P. Jannu, who was killed, was the commanding officer of the 1 (Sector) Rashtriya Rifles. He belonged to the Territorial Army, the sources said. The two civilians killed in the crossfire were identified as Abdul Ahad Sheikh and Muhammad Shaffi Shah, who was working as manager with Bata in Anantnag. Police sources said the Army convoy, on its way to Khanabal from Khundroo base, was ambushed at 4.15 pm. The 60-year old militant killed in retaliatory fire was identified as Moulvi Mohiuddin, alias Mateen Chacha, who hailed from Pakistan’s North-Western Province, the police said. It, however, did not know which militant outfit was responsible for the ambush nor has any group claimed responsibility so far. The firefight created havoc in most parts of Anantnag. People were seen running to safety. Many were caught in a stampede and sustained injuries, reports received here said. Shopkeepers abandoned their establishments and took refuge in nearby houses while the firing was on. Police and paramilitary forces rushed to the scene of the ambush, cordoned off Janglat Mandi and its neighbourhood and quickly started a combing operation, police sources said. Meanwhile, two policemen were killed and half-a-dozen others were wounded when militants attacked the escort vehicle of an official carrying cash for the disbursement of salaries among government employees in Basooli area of Kathua district near here on Thursday, the police said. It added that two inspectors and two constables of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police were injured in another ambush carried out by militants at Qazigund, the gateway to the Kashmir Valley from the south.