February 1998 News

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Farooq survives bid on life

24th February 1998
Hindu

BUDGAM (Kashmir): The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, today survived an assassination bid when militants sought to explode an Improvised Explosive Device in Ganderbal area.

The attempt was, however, foiled by the Army. One foreign militant and an Army soldier were killed in the encounter that ensued.

Disclosing this at a public meeting here today, Dr. Abdullah said "I escaped another assassination bid today at Ganderbal at the hands of militants. "Yeh Allah Ka Karam Tha Ki Mein Bach Gaya (It is God's blessing that I am safe)", he said, adding he was thankful to the Army as well.

The Chief Minister reminded the people that militancy had not been wiped out completely and they had to be cautious. However, he reiterated his Government's resolve to fight the Pakistan-sponsored proxy war, which "that country has unleashed eight years back. I believe that only your participation in elections will be the right answer to them."

A defence spokesman in Srinagar confirming the incident said the troops of 3 Kumaon Regiment on a specific information cordoned off Sofi Mohalla in Saloora area of Ganderbal, where the militants where reportedly preparing IEDs for the attack.

Around 11 a.m., when the search operation was to end, militants hiding in a haystack inside a house opened indiscriminate fire. Later, in the operation, one house was blasted due to the huge quantity of IEDs prepared by the militants. While one Army soldier lost his life, a foreign militant was also killed in the encounter. He was identified as Usman Hassan of Harkatul Ansar.

The spokesman said that the militants had planned to attack the Chief Minister during his scheduled visit to Wakoora village in Ganderbal on February 24 for campaign. The Ganderbal Assembly segment is represented by the Chief Minister.


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