July 2001 News

Militants strike again in J&K, 15 killed in Doda

22 July 2001
The Times of India

Jammu: In a major strike barely 24 hours after the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, militants on Sunday shot dead 15 Hindus and abducted five of the same community in two remote villages in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said here. The militants swooped down on Cherji village, about 45 km from Kishtwar, and opened indiscriminate fire on the houses of the minority community, killing 15 of them and injuring one. The police and security forces have rushed to the area. Militants had attacked for the first time this year on Amarnath pilgrims at Sheshnag in Anantnag district on Saturday, killing 12 people, including six pilgrims. The militants abducted five Hindus ^ all members of a village defence committee (VDC) from Doda district late Saturday night. The sources said a group of heavily-armed militants forced their entry into the houses of the VDC members at Chatroo and kidnapped them at gun-point. The VDC members were taken to an undisclosed destination by the militants, the sources, said adding the police assisted by the Army has launched a massive search operation in the area to rescue them. The militants lobbed a grenade at the house of Jammu and Kashmir works minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, while two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were among five persons killed in other incidents in the Valley. The grenade fell short of the target and exploded outside the boundary wall of Sagar''s house at 9:20 pm Saturday. Sagar was not present in the house at the time of the attack. Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in a gunfight with the security forces at Shiva in Baramulla district. Unidentified gunmen shot dead a civilian in Kupwara district, while the police recovered the body of another civilian in Anantnag district. Security forces shot dead a person said to be ''mentally retarded'' when he ignored their signal to stop outside their camp at Manasbal in Baramulla district. He was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.Militants shot at and injured onother person at Ujjam-Dialgam in Anantnag district. Meanwhile, security forces have smashed a number of militant hideouts during search operations at Dardpora, Lolab and Choga forests in Kupwara district and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition. The recoveries from the hideouts include 13 AK assault rifles and a machine-gun, the police said, describing the seizure as a major breakthrough. According to a defence spokesman, in an apparent attempt to push in militants from across the border, Pakistan troops have intensified firing on Indian positions in the past few days. The support of Pakistani army regulars in the militants'' infiltration attempts has increased after the Agra summit and reflects designs of the Pakistani army to force Indian troops to retaliate to their heavy firing and thereby escalate the situation on the Line of Control (LoC), the spokesman said.


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