September 2002 News

Ultras target Hindus, 5 killed

9 September 2002
The Indian Express
Arun Sharma

Dudasan Pain: Barely a week before the first phase of Assembly polls in the six border districts in Jammu and Kashmir, militants struck a warning note once again, targetting two Hindu families in Dudasan Pain, 12 km from Rajouri town last night. Five people, including two women, were killed in the attack. The incident caught the district administration unawares. The two families were the only Hindus living in an area inhabited by nearly 1,000 people. ‘‘We had asked them to shift to a safe place,’’ said Deputy Commissioner K.A. Khan. The attackers were reportedly two militants. The dead have been identified as Balak Ram (65), an ex-serviceman, his son Ashok Kumar (40) and wife Shashi Bala (28), Charanjeet Lal and his wife Dushyant Bala. Another woman, Krishna Devi, wife of Balak Ram, is reported to be in a critical condition. Ashok’s eight-year-old daughter, Pinki, was the sole survivor. According to Pinki, she and her family were sitting outside their house when the two militants — one in police uniform — stopped by and asked for food and shelter. Mistaking them for policemen, Balak Ram took them inside the house while the women started preparing food for them. But after sometime, both the militants came out and told Pinki to go inside. When the girl went in, she saw the bodies of her parents and grandfather lying in a pool of blood. Cutting across religious lines, both Hindus and Muslims protested against the killings and criticised the administration for failing to protect civilians. CM Farooq Abdullah also condemned the killings. Angry villagers pointed out that although elections are round the corner, militants were moving freeing and asking people not to vote. Agreeing with the villagers, a police official present at the spot pointed out that the panchayat elections saw only 25-30 per cent polling. ‘‘Though security forces and the Special Operation Group patrol the area, their visibility is hampered by the fully-grown maize crop and grass,’’ he added. Last night’s attack is the latest in a series of violent incidents that have marked the run-up to the polls. Just three days back, three Muslims were killed in an exchange of fire between security forces and militants. Before that, militants killed eight Muslims at Sokar.


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