April 2004 News

Farooq escapes attempt on his life

19 April 2004
The Daily Times

SRINAGAR: Militants in Held Kashmir narrowly missed a former state chief minister in a grenade attack as the revolt-hit state geared up for national elections, police said.No one was hurt in the attack that failed to prevent ex-chief Farooq Abdullah from attending an election rally to drum up support for his son Omar, who is running for parliament with the pro-India National Conference party.'The rebels fired the rifle grenade in central Budgam district just a few minutes after his motorcade had passed,' a police spokesman said. Mr Abdullah, whose party lost power in Kashmir in 2002, has survived at least three earlier attempts against his life.The grenade blast came after the Indian troops said they shot dead Monday three militants allegedly planning to disrupt elections starting on Tuesday (today). Three other people were also killed in pre-poll violence. The troops shot the militants along the de facto border dividing the disputed Himalayan territory between India and Pakistan, defence spokesman Colonel Najib Singh said. Rebels have warned Kashmiris of dire consequences if they take part in the polls in which 6.3 million state residents can vote. 'I won't risk my life for these elections,' said Ghulamuddin, a resident of northern Baramulla. But shopkeeper Imtiaz Mir in nearby Kunzer village said he would vote for anyone who could ease chronic unemployment, water and power scarcity woes in the scenic state where the revolt has raged against Indian rule since 1989. 'I'll definitely vote if things stay peaceful.'In other violence, insurgents shot dead a National Conference activist, a civilian and a former militant, police said. Security has been stepped up in heavily militarised Kashmir to try to ensure peaceful polling. Some 7,000 paramilitary troops have been deployed to join 65,000 currently occupying the state. Troops have been stationed at polling stations. -AFP


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