July 2003 News

Minister Survives Assassination Bid

4 July 2003
The Times of India

Srinagar: Militants today struck in a big way when they attacked and seriously injured Jammu and Kashmir rural development minister and Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president Peerzada Mohommad Sayeed with a grenade while he was addressing a public rally at Larnow, Kokernag in Anantnag district of South Kashmir. In the incident one person was killed while 28 others including 11 cops, deputy commissioner Anantnag Shalender Kumar and superintending engineer Abdul Qayoom Bulbul were injured. All the injured have been shifted to the hospitals in Anantnag and Srinagar. Police said, Sayeed, who represents Kokernag constituency in the legislative assembly, along with deputy commissioner Anantnag Shalandar Kumar were on a tour to the area. When they reached Larnow village, a large number of people assembled there to hear the minister. As Sayeed started his address, militants tossed a grenade towards him around 12.30. It fell near the podium and exploded with a big bang. In the incident Sayeed received splinter injuries and fell on the podium. The explosion also caused death to one person and injuries to 21 others including 11 police constables and deputy commissioner Shalender Kumar and SE PWD Abdul Qayoom Bulbul. The slain has been identified as Ali Mohommad who is working as headmaster in the local government school. Security forces immediately rescued the minister and airlifted him to Srinagar. He was admitted to SMHS hospital for treatment. Doctors attending on him said he is responding to the treatment. Sixteen injured persons were shifted to Srinagar various hospital. Five others have been admitted in Anantnag district hospitals. The incident triggered a panic reaction among the people and they ran helter skelter for safety. After half an hour the order was restored and the injured shifted to the hospitals. Constable Kalidas, the body guard of the minister, who also received injuries and was admitted to SMHS hospital said the grenade was lobbed from the top floor of a house. 'It was followed by a burst of gun-fire and we also retaliated with heavy gun-fire. Entire area turned into a battle-ground', he said. Manzoor Ahmad Larnow, one of the injured, was groaning with pain in the hospital. 'After the explosion I fell on the ground and I saw several other injured men also lying on the ground', he recounted. Bashir Ahmad Wagay, an eyewitness said, he saw a heap of injured men. 'A large number of people were staying at some distance and we heard the explosion and firing we fled in all the directions. Since I reside near-by, we returned after some time and found a number of men lying on the ground. We lifted a number of them towards the vehicles, to be taken to hospital', he said. The wailing relatives of the injured were seen making a beeline to the hospital. A number of injured were still in a shock due to explosion. Mohammad Shafeeq, who received minor injuries, was dumb-struck and not speak. Senior police, paramilitary and army officers rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. Army have launched massive combing operations in the area to nab the militants responsible for the attack.


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