Hizbul Militants Attack Lashkar Hideout
16 August 2000
Srinagar: Three militants were killed in a clash between the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in Rajouri district while nine others, including a Hizb district commander, were killed in various militancy-related incidents across the Kashmir Valley since Tuesday morning. Eighteen civilians were injured in a grenade attack at Bijbehara in Anantnag district this morning. The DIG, Rajouri-Poonch range, Mr. Ram Lubhaya, said, ''the infighting between the two groups, which had been raging for quiet some time reached its peak following the killing of a religious leader, Haji Mumtaz, in Mehrot village last month.'' ''The killing was strongly resented by the people of the village as well as the Hizb militants,'' Mr. Lubhaya told The Hindu over the phone from Rajouri. According to him, a group of Lashkar militants beat up Haji Lal Hussain of Mehrot village during the intervening night of August 14 and 15, accusing him of supporting Army and police operations in the village. Taking strong exception to the attack on Hussain, several Hizb militants joined by a group of villagers attacked a Lashkar hideout at Nikki Mori Dok, around 75 km from Rajouri town, on Monday and smashed it. A fierce gun battle ensued and was continuing when the last reports came in, the DIG said adding that two Lashkar militants and one Hizb member were killed in the exchange of fire. A villager, Mr. Majid Gujjar, was injured in the encounter. Four Lashkar militants had managed to flee, Mr. Lubhaya said adding that the clashes were the outcome of the ''relentless operations by police and ''Romeo Force'' as the militants had resorted to harassing people as also the local militants''. Reports said Army personnel had reached the area but were yet to begin any operation. In Kupwara, Hizb militants intensified attacks against the security forces. According to Mr. Dilbagh Singh, DIG of Baramulla-Kupwara range, an encounter with security forces at Magam near Handwara resulted in the deaths of the Hizb district commander, Nazir Ahmed Wani alias Nissar, and platoon commander, Mohammad Sidiq. Nazir was said to be in charge of Kupwara district, Mr. Singh said. At the Ragni post in Karnah near the Line of Control an unidentified militant was killed by security forces while two militants were slain in a clash with security forces in the Rangabal Machil sector. Two civilians of the Machil Squad, who were assisting security forces in operations, were also killed. In Wularhama of north Kashmir, unidentified gunmen shot dead two civilians - Nasrullah Lone and Salam Mir - in their own houses, police said. Militants lobbed a grenade at a security forces vehicle at Bijbehara on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. The grenade missed the intended target and exploded on the road injuring 18 persons. They were immediately rushed to the hospital, where the condition of one was said to be critical.