July 2002 News

25 killed as militants strike near Jammu

13 July 2002
The Hindu

Jammu: Twentyfive persons were killed and 21 injured, a number of them critically, when militants attacked a slum locality, near here this evening. The dead included 10 women, nine men, and a three-year-old boy. The militants lobbed grenades and opened fire at random on civilians, in an area inhabited by slum-dwellers, police sources said. Some of the victims were killed on the spot, they said, adding that there was a temple in the vicinity of the militant strike. A few killed were near the temple.The toll is likely to go up. An unspecified number of militants struck at the predominantly labour colony, near Narwal by-pass after coming from the nearby hills around 7.30 p.m. ''There were at least three militants who were armed with automatic weapons and fired at a thickly populated labour colony'', according to the Union Minister of State for Home, I.D. Swami. Police and security forces rushed to the area and engaged the militants, who fled into the neighbouring forests, in a gun battle. The encounter was reported to be continuing even four hours after the massacre. Till the filing of the report no militant had been nabbed. The attack comes almost two months after the gruesome Kaluchak attack in which 32 persons were killed. Eyewitnesses told The Hindu that the militants in their early twenties, with carry bags, entered the locality, and had refreshments at a local shop, before launching the attack. There were conflicting reports on whether the militants were dressed in sadhu robes. Senior police and security officers have rushed to the area and were monitoring the situation. The traffic on both sides of the by-pass and its adjoining areas has been stopped. Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded in the entire Jammu city and patrols instructed to carry thorough searches of vehicles. As a precautionary measure, hundreds of slum-dwellers in and around the scene were evacuated to safer places, police said.


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