June 2002 News

IED blast on Amarnath route, 3 jawans killed

27 June 2002
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Militants today detonated an improvised explosive device on the Pahalgam-Chandanwari road—part of the Amarnath yatra route—killing three soldiers. A grenade blast at the Lalchowk market in Anantnag around 30 kms away followed the IED blast, killing a villager and injuring 24 others, including four policemen. There were further violence in the evening at Soura, where an assistant sub inspector and a constable were killed when militants opened fire on a police patrol. Members of the patrol had been out shopping when they were fired on. The Al-Madina regiment claimed responsibility for the attack. The Amarnath yatra starts on July 22 and ends on August 22. According to SSP Anantnag, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, the militants exploded the IED planted on the Pahalgam-Chandanwari road at 9.40 am today as an Army vehicle drove by. ‘‘Three jawans were killed in the attack,’’ he said. Sources said the Army vehicle was an ambulance. Then, at around 11.30 am, added Bhat, ‘‘militants threw a grenade at a CRPF vehicle but it missed and exploded in the marketplace, injuring 25 persons, including four CRPF men.’’ One of the villagers later succumbed to his injuries. ‘‘The injured included two pregnant women,’’ said Bhat. Separately, three militants were killed in an encounter with security forces at Gadole in Kukernag in the same district. Five bodies were recovered from the forest area in Shopian. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Parvez Dewan said, ‘‘All the deceased were from the Gujjar community, and they had been killed on Wednesday.’’ Sources revealed that a high-level meeting was held today where it was decided that ‘‘all unnecessary movement in the area should be avoided’’. A senior state government officer said the recent burst of violence in south Kashmir had prompted the government to end the so-called ‘‘VIP darshan’’ at the yatra. ‘‘We will not allow people to go up to Amarnath ahead of schedule,’’ said the officer. The security grid for the yatra will be in place within a week. However, Army and security agencies have told the state government that given the yatra preparations, it will be difficult for them to ensure security for the Assembly elections. ‘‘We will be busy until mid-August,’’ he said. ‘‘The Amarnath deployment will be taken off only in the last week of August. How will you ensure security for the polls?’’


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