August 2002 News

Four fidayeen squads sneak into Srinagar

14 August 2002
The Pioneer
Khursheed Wani

Srinagar: Indian security agencies are geared up to frustrate any militant design to disrupt Independence Day celebrations in Kashmir Valley. Eight battalions of Border security Force (BSF) and around 10,000 personnel of Central Reserve Police Force and State police have been deployed in Srinagar where the main function would be held at Bakshi Stadium. The unprecedented security arrangements were made following radio intercepts of Pakistan based militant outfits Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba who are planning to strike the vital security installations on the eve of Independence Day and the upcoming Assembly elections to be held in September-October. Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range), K Rajindra said that 40 Lashkar and Jaish militants have sneaked into Srinagar in four suicide groups of equal strength to carry out fidayeen attacks. He said the fidayeen militants, all foreigners, are planning to attack Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Radio Kashmir and Doordarshan complexes, New Secretariat building and BSF headquarters at Sanat Nagar and Karan Nagar localities. He said the security has been beefed up to thwart the militants'' plans. Additional troops have been deployed far and wide in the city and frequent frisking of pedestrians and vehicle checking is being carried out. The 5 kilometre area around Bakshi Stadium, the venue of Thursday''s main Independence Day function where Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah would hoist the tricolour and inspect the march-past, has been completely sanitised. All roads leading to the area are blocked and heavily armed security personnel have occupied the vintage points and top floors of the buildings. Most of the civilian population has either shifted to the lower stories of their houses or temporarily left the area to avoid security hassles. The stadium is under a 2-tier security ring manned by police, CRPF, BSF and Army personnel, said a BSF officer adding ''No anti-national element can think of breaking the security cover.'' Security agencies apprehend that militant outfits with local base are also planning to hit the soft civilian targets. ''Tahreek-ul-Mujahideen, Al Umar Mujahideen and Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen have been entrusted the task to eliminate active political workers,'' said Rajindra. ''Former militants (surrendered or released) are being forced by militants to join their ranks and assist them in the operations,'' said a top intelligence officer. We have increased vigil on the activities of former militants, he said. Tight security arrangements have been made in district headquarters at Anantnag, Pulwama, Budgam, Kupwara and Baramulla. The All parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has called for a two-day strike from August 15. ''The strike is to show the world community that Kashmir is not an integral part of India and people of this disputed territory do not recognise the day as Independence day,'' said a Hurriyat spokesman. He said the August 16 strike would be observed against the alleged harassment of people to prepare Election photo identity cards. Meanwhile, 2 junior Army officers were killed and 10 others injured in south Kashmir''s Pulwama district when militants fired a rocked on their vehicle on Tuesday evening followed by intense firing. Sources said the security personnel were headed to their camp formation in a private passenger bus when militants opened fire at Qasdoora village. 12 personnel were wounded in the attack, out of which one Captain and a junior commissioned officer succumbed to injuries on way to the hospital. Security forces launched a combing operation in the area to eliminate the militants involved in the attack.


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