7 policemen killed in ''fidayeen'' attack in J&K
24 August 2001
SRINAGAR: A two-member group of fidayeen (suicide squad) from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) struck in Poonch on Thursday and killed at least seven police personnel while three jawans were killed by militants in the Samba sector . The militants wearing Army uniform attacked a police station in Poonch with grenades followed by indiscriminate firing from automatic weapons. The firing caught the police personnel unawares even as they retaliated. At least six police personnel died on the spot while another succumbed to injuries at the hospital. The firing by militants continued for about 15 minutes, official sources said, adding that the Station House Officer and some other policemen took shelter in a bathroom till the militants managed to escape under the cover of darkness. Reports reaching here said the militants were confronted by an Army patrol while fleeing. However, they opened fire on them and managed to escape. The situation in the town is tense with shopkeepers downing their shutters in protest against the killings. A large number of security force personnel have been rushed to the area and a massive search operation has been launched to nab the militants. The Minister of State for Home, Mr. Khalid Najeeb Suhrawardy, visited Poonch to take stock of the situation. He reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting with senior civil and police officials. A Lashkar-e-Taiba spokesperson, Abu Osama, told newspaper offices here that the militants from their fidayeen squad attacked the police station and killed at least 10 personnel and managed to return to their hide out. In Samba area near Jammu, three Army personnel, including a Junior Commissioned Officer, was killed when security forces and police jointly rushed to the spot to conduct a search operation. In the exchange of fire between the militants and security forces, two personnel lost their lives while three others sustained injuries. One of the injured jawans later succumbed to injuries. Mass grave? After serious allegations about the discovery of a mass grave at Chitranar village in Bandipore where an Army unit was camping, the 15 Corps headquarters has ordered a case study to find out the truth. The incident has been taken up as a case study to highlight propaganda being carried out by vested interests to ensure that peace does not return to the valley. In addition, the group will also highlight the remedial measures against false allegations and rumours blaming the Army for all and sundry, an Army spokesman said. The group''s first meeting was held at Chitranar near the north Kashmir town of Bandipore and was attended by Mr. Mir Assadullah, director, Institute of Kashmir Studies, a human rights body, the DSP, Bandipore, SHO, Chitranar, local politicians, sarpanchas and local media representatives. After its completion, the study will be made public to expose the nefarious designs of unscrupulous persons and organisations, he added.