April 1999 News

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3 of family gunned down in Thathri

1st April 1999
Daily Excelsior

JAMMU: Militants gunned down three members of a family in their house at village Kither in Thathri tehsil of Doda district last night while security forces averted a major tragedy when they detected and defused a powerful bomb at Kharpura in Banihal today.

A police spokesman said a group of militants attacked the house of Mohd Akbar, whose son is a Special Police Officer (SPO) in Doda, last mid-night when the family was asleep in their house. Militants dragged out the family members and opened indiscriminate firing on them.

All the three family members, present in the house, were killed on the spot in militants’ firing. Militants, numbering three-four, escaped from the spot and fled towards upper reaches.

Neighbourers of the victims gathered on the spot after militants’ escape and trekked a distance of about two kms to inform at a security picket. Security personnel rushed to the spot and combed the area immediately.

The security jawans, assisted by the local police, launched a search operation in the area in the wee hours of this morning to apprehend the militants involved in the attack. Some suspects have been rounded up by the security forces but no formal arrest has been made so far.

The victims have been identified as Mohd Akbar, his wife Gulshan Begum and son Aziz Hussain. Their bodies were buried by the local people in the village today after post-mortem.

Police said younger son of Mohd Akbar was engaged as SPO with the district police of Doda. This could be one of the reason behind elimination of the family as militants had already warned local people not to work as SPO with police and Army.

Senior police officers from Thathri also rushed to the spot today and were camping there when the reports last came in. Tension had gripped the village with local people protesting against the barbaric killings of the innocent civilians.

Meanwhile, security forces today managed to avert a major tragedy when they recovered an IED planted on National Highway at the out-skirts of Banihal town. The mine contained 3 kg of explosive material, powerful enough to blow up a bus.

A road opening party led by Maj R B Upadyaya while on its routine exercise of clearance of road, detected a patch of mud on broken area of tramatted road at about 0915 hours in the morning. On suspecting foul play, the team put the nine detector and sniffer dogs into action which confirmed presence of explosive material. The area around the spot was also laid with big stones by the militants to ensure diversion of the traffic to go over the spot to ensure casualties.

Security forces took prompt action in stopping the traffic north of Jawahar Tunnel and fourth of Lachlana to ensure that there are no road blockades and search operations are not hampered. Later, the forces cordoned off the area and searched it extensively for presence of additional IED and militants wanting to take advantage of the situation.

The explosive handling squad was pressed into action which finally destroyed the IED by blowing it up. The impact of this explosive was so severe that it created a big crater inside the ground.

It may be recalled that this is second instance in last one year where militants have tried to sensationalise militancy in Doda by using highway to target security forces and create fear in hearts and mind of people but have failed in both the attempts.

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