April 2002 News

Nine killed in double terror strikes in J&K

8 April 2002
The Indian Express
Arun Sharma

Jammu: Militants struck in two separate incidents in different parts of this state since last night, leaving a total of nine people dead and more than 20 injured. While seven people were shot dead and six others injured in a shoot-out in Tansal village Udhampur district last night, two people were killed and 18 others injured in a powerful IED explosion in Rajouri town this afternoon. Nearly two dozen houses were also torched by militants before they fled Tansal. Giving details, sources said that 60-70 militants swooped on the village and cordoned all houses belonging to one community around 9 pm. The villagers had just finished their meals and the VDC members were preparing to go for night patrolling. The militants caught them unawares, opened fire and tried to enter the kacha houses. However, facing stiff resistance from the VDC members, the militants started lobbing grenades. They also set ablaze some houses, resulting in the death of seven persons on the spot and injuries to six others. The deceased included two girls aged five and six. Five of the survivors were airlifted to the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital at Jammu this morning. Tansal is a mountain-locked village, having a Muslim majority, with nearly two dozen houses belonging to Hindus. To ensure their protection from militants, the administration had formed a village defence committee and provided weapons to its members. Militants had attacked the village last July, too, but had fled before any fatalities. Despite this, security hadn’t been stepped up in the area. In the other incident, two people were killed and 18 injured when militants triggered an IED inside a sweet shop in Rajouri town, 150 kms from here, this afternoon. The victims — Mohammad Rafiq of Jawahar Nagar, a guard at the office of Sericulture Department, and his mother-in-law Rajab Begum — were in town to do some shopping. No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the blast but a man and a woman are suspects in the attack. The shop’s owner Deepak Chopra, who also suffered injuries, said that a couple had entered the shop around 1 p.m., carrying a polythene bag. They sat on a corner table and ordered a soft drink but kept the bag behind when they left. ‘‘I got suspicious but, before I could stop them, the couple had left the shop. And, within five minutes, the blast took place.’’ This was the third militant strike in the town over the past fortnight.


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