Top RAW officer among 3 killed in blast, 29 hurt
21 September 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: A top RAW officer was among three persons killed and 29 others were injured, six of them seriously, in a blast triggered by an IED fitted Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) in the town here this afternoon. The IED fitted VCR went off when some local shopkeepers and other people were examining the electronic device, which was lying abandoned on the stairs of Omi Shoes, a shop owned by Parveen Gupta at 1230 hours today, official sources said. The victims were the shopkeepers, their employees, customers and the people walking near the scene of explosion, they said, adding that RAW officer Assistant Commissioner Avinash Chander Dutta was passing through the market when he was hit by splinters of the explosion. He died on spot alongwith two brothers—Vinod Kumar and Kaushal Kumar sons of Bansi Lal and residents of Dandwal, Rajouri. Dutta hailed from Subash Nagar, Jammu but presently his family was putting up at R K Puram, New Delhi while the two brothers were employees of Omi Shoes. DIG Rajouri-Poonch range S M Sahai, Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar Dwivedi and SP Ashraf Mujaba alongwith police and para-military personnel rushed to the scene of explosion and cordoned off the area. A militant, who had planted the IED fitted VCR, however remained untraced, the sources said, adding a sketch of the ultra has been prepared with the help of some eye-witnesses, who had spotted him planting VCR in the shop. Police shifted the victims to district hospital of Rajouri where three of them were declared as dead while six others were referred to the Medical College hospital in Jammu. Other injured were undergoing treatment in the district hospital. Sources said the militant was observed by some people, mostly the shopkeepers, while moving in the town carrying a VCR in his hands, about 15 minutes before the blast. The shopkeepers thought that the person, who was a middle aged man, was looking for an electric goods repair shop. The militant succeeded in planting the IED on stairs, when the shopkeeper and his employees were busy with the customers, the sources said, adding the IED had been fitted with a timer. Tension gripped the town after the blast as shopkeepers downed their shutters. Local people and shopkeepers protested against the blast and shouted slogans against Pakistan and the militants. However, tension was defused after arrival of police. Shops and other business establishments, however, remained closed. Two shops also suffered damages in the explosion while window panes of three houses developed cracks under impact of the blast, the sources said. Injured referred to the Medical College hospital, Jammu have been identified as Vijay Mahajan (Guru), BJP district secretary, Sunil Sharma son of Vijay Kumar R-o Kot Dhara, Kewal Krishan son of Ram Dass R-o Billawar, Kathua, Parveen Gupta, owner of Omi Shoes and son of K L Gupta R-o Rajouri, Neeraj Gupta son of Pushkar Raj R-o Rajouri and Mohinder Pal son of Bhagti Ram R-o Kalakote. Injured admitted in the district hospital are Mohd Haneef son of Sher Lone R-o Rakiba, Mohd Afzal son of Mohd Alam R-o Gurdanbala, Abdul Hamid son of Fazal Hussain R-o Gurdanbala, Mohd Shahzaad son of Mohd Zamaan R-o Gurdanbala, Wali Mohd son of Ghulam Mohd Dar R-o Rajouri, Sanjay Kumar son of Jagdish Raj R-o Rajouri, Naresh Sharma son of Chuni Lal R-o Rajouri, Shakeela wife of Maqbool R-o Madoon, Noor Jan wife of Iqbal Hussain R-o Potha, Mohd Bashir son of Sher Mohd R-o Paranwali, Dil Jan wife of Nizam Din R-o Margan, Nizam-ud-Din R-o Rajouri, Tahir Rashid son of Haroon Rashid R-o Thanna Mandi, Bharat Gupta son of Bal Krishan R-o Rajouri, Mohinder Kumar son of Anmol Singh R-o Rajouri, Kuldeep Kumar son of Gurdev Singh R-o Rajouri, Zaitoon, 3, daughter of Nizam Din R-o Margan, Abrar Hussain son of Ghulam Qadir R-o Chateyar, Shehnaz Begum wife of Nazir Ahmed R-o Manyalan, Shiraz Lone son of Abdul Ahad Lone R-o Rajouri, Nazir Ahmed son of Mohd Hussain R-o Gurdanbala and Om Parkash of Rajouri. Meanwhile, political leaders and social workers have condemned the blast and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. They included Vibodh Gupta and Yogesh Sharma (BJP), Ashok Sharma (Sanatan Dharam Sabha), Nasarullah and Ishtiyaq Bhat (PDP), Rashid Bhat, president, Muslim Welfare Association, Vinod Mahajan and Kewal Koul (Congress). The political leaders criticised the administration for not fulfilling its promise of keeping an ambulance and a Fire Brigade in position at Bus Stand. Authorities had agreed to place a Fire Brigade and an ambulance round the clock at Bus Stand few months back when a blast had occurred in Rajouri. However, today, when the blast occurred both the essential vehicles were missing.