October 2004 News

Farooq, Omar Escape Bid On Life

23 October 2004
The Times of India

Srinagar: National Conference President Omar Abdullah on Sunday escaped an attempt on his life when terrorists triggered a powerful blast as he reached a graveyard in Anantnag district to attend a ceremony for slain party leader. One passerby was killed and another critically injured as the landmine planted in a vehicle parked on the roadside exploded around 11.45 am as soon as the motorcade of National Conference leaders, with Omar in the lead, arrived at the Sarnal graveyard, 50 km from Srinagar. Party patron Farooq Abdullah was following his son in another vehicle to attend a ceremony for Safder Ali Beg killed by terrorists on October 21. Deputy Inspector General of Police Ravinder Kotwal said two passersby were critically injured in the explosion and one of them later succumbed. No terrorist outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack. A visibly shaken Omar said, 'This is the level of security we have in the state... This was a planned trip and despite that a massive blast took place.' The blast took place barely ten feet away from Omar's vehicle as the NC chief, who was at the wheels, alighted. Immediately after the explosion, the security personnel present there opened fire to give cover to Omar who ducked. Accusing the PDP- led state government of being involved in the attack, the National Conference chief demanded a probe into it by a central agency. The blast took place so close to the graveyard during the visit which was not sudden but scheduled, he said, adding, that 'the absence of the Superintendent of Police from the venue was also suspicious as two highly protected personalities, me and my father, were visiting the area on prior notice.' Omar said, 'I have often said that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is determined to eliminate us politically but unfortunately the evidence leads us to believe that he wants to eliminate us physically as well.' The NC chief said a high-level probe should be ordered into the security being provided to the people and specially the National Conference which was being made a scapegoat. Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah also accused the state government of being hand-in-glove with the perpetrators of the blast and demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.


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