December 2001 News

Fierce gunbattle in Sopore kills 7, two hurt

15 December 2001
The Asian Age

Srinagar: Four militants and a jawan were killed and two others injured in a fierce gunbattle at Takiabal Krankashivan in Kashmir’s northwestern town of Sopore on Saturday. Two local girls, identified as Saleema and Shakeela Bano, also died on being caught in the crossfire, officials here said. The encounter between some soldiers of the Rashtriya Rifles and the militants, which lasted several hours, heightened tension in the town and its neighbourhood. Four AK assault rifles with 200 rounds of ammunition, a hand grenade and a wireless set were recovered from the militants. In another clash, between a group of militants and the security forces at Tral in south Kashmir, a special police officer and two civilian bystanders — one of whom identified as Manzoor Ahmed Butt — were killed and about a dozen civilians injured on Friday. The police claimed the civilian casualties occurred in the crossfire between the militants and members of the state police’s elite counter-insurgency Special Operation Group. But witnesses said the SOG men opened fire indiscriminately at the town’s main bus-stop, killing and injuring the civilians to avenge the sneak militant attack. Owning responsibility for the attack on the policemen, the Hizbul Mujahideen claimed that three of them were killed instantly and all the service weapons were seized. The police identified the slain SPO as Mohammed Akbar Gujjar and confirmed that his AK rifle was taken away by the assailants. In neighbouring Shopian town, 52 km south of here, a policeman and a 12-year-old boy were killed and five other persons were wounded in separate shooting incidents on Saturday afternoon. Reports received here said two policemen, identified as Manzoor Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmed, were allegedly demanding money from local traders on the eve of Id, when militants targeted them with rifles. One of the policemen injured in the attack died on his way to the hospital, the police said. On hearing about the militant attack, the colleagues of the policemen arrived at the scene and opened indiscriminate fire, resulting in civilian casualties. The police and hospital sources said one of the five injured civilians, 12-year-old Mubarak Ahmed Zargar, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The police officials here insisted that the casualties occurred in a crossfire between the militants and the policemen. Meanwhile, the Army held up all the passengers of a bus carrying 50 kg of RDX at Khanabal, on the outskirts of Anantnag town, on Saturday. During a routine check of vehicles along the Srinagar-Anantnag road, the soldiers found the deadly explosives in one of the buses (JK01E-2485). As the bus staff and passengers expressed ignorance about the consignment, everyone was detained and removed to a nearby Army camp for questioning, he added. At Nowshehra, in the frontier district of Rajouri, a man named Kali Dass and his wife Shanti Devi were shot dead by armed intruders overnight, according to the police. The couple’s son, Vijay Kumar, was injured in the attack. In the neighbouring Poonch district, a militant was killed in a clash with the security forces and in Udhampur district two militants died in a similar incident, the police said.


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