Uri Attack Shocks People
9 April 2004
Srinagar: The first militant attack in the border town of Uri which claimed 11 lives has raised serious questions. Today, the town wore a deserted look. (The toll in Thursday's attack has gone up to 11 after three more persons died of injuries.) The incident shocked everyone as Uri town was virtually a cantonment and militants could not easily sneak in. Serious questions were raised about the security arrangements made for the People's Democratic Party rally in which 40,000 people took part.Uri has been the most peaceful town in the Valley since militancy broke out 14 years ago. The town has suffered a number of times but only on account of cross border shelling. The Army did lose some of the soldiers including a brigadier a few years ago in a landmine blast, but the attack on a public meeting is new to Uri residents. Attendance in the offices was also thin. Uri has never responded to a strike call given by the separatist political or militant outfits. The attack, sources said, has even baffled Army authorities who had managed to keep the area free of militants. Keeping its excellent relations with the people intact, the Commander of Uri Brigade, S.A. Hasnain, visited the market last evening and asked the police not to harass any civilian in the name of finding the culprits. The former Minister and National Conference leader, Mohammad Shafi, also visited the town today to express solidarity with the people. The incident has other dimensions as well. Since the rally was being organised to coincide with the meeting between India and Pakistan in Islamabad on the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, the attack is seen as a move to derail the ongoing peace process.