January 2001 News

Restore power or face wrath, threatens LeT

18 January 2001
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) has issued a new threat to target vital government, army and security forces installations across the country if power supply is not restored to the people in Kashmir valley within five days. LeT spokesman Abu Usama telephoned news organisations here to convey the threat saying if their demand is not fulfilled, activists of the outfit will target installations across India. LeT, which carried out a suicidal attack on Red Fort in the Union capital last month and threatened to target Prime Minister's Office, however, said 'civilian installations will never be attacked by us'. In a tough message to Pakistan, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today asked the leadership there to demonstrate its sincerity and commitment to the dialogue process by checking the anti-India militant outfits operating from there, saying the onus of creating a positive atmosphere for bilateral talks rests clearly with Islamabad. 'I urge the leadership of Pakistan to demonstrate its sincerity and commitment to the dialogue process by condemning terrorist violence by Pakistan-based militant groups and effectively checking their anti-India activities. 'The onus of creating a positive atmosphere for bilateral talks rests clearly with Pakistan,' he said in a statement here, noting that the recent spurt in violence in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India unleashed by Pak-based militant organisations 'has vitiated the atmosphere for resumption of talks between the two countries'. The Prime Minister's tough-talking comes close on the heels of stepped up violence by groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and three days after the Indian high commissioner in Pakistan calling on military ruler Pervez Musharraf to formally propose resumption of bilateral composite dialogue.In a Meanwhile, a traders' federation-sponsored general strike against the unprecedented power crisis in the valley crippled normal life today. Shops and business establishments were closed and all modes of transport were off the road in Srinagar and major towns of the valley in response to the call, official sources said. Government offices, banks, courts and other semi-government institutions also remained closed. Meanwhile, in the third major strike in the past five days, pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen militants today blasted two security force vehicles killing seven jawans, including a BSF Deputy Commandant, and a daughter of an Army captain in south Kashmir today. Eleven security personnel were also injured in the two blasts, an official spokesman said. Four BSF personnel, including the Deputy Commandant of 34th Battalion D K Budhalial, were killed and two other jawans critically injured when their vehicle ran over a landmine near Chankitar bridge in Pulwama district at around 0930 hours, an official spokesman said. The vehicle was extensively damaged in the explosion set off by the ultras when a BSF team was was on way to a nearby camp to take stock of the situation arising out of militant attack on it late last night, the spokesman said. Besides Budhalial, three BSF jawans killed in the explosion were constable Vinod, constable Sarfaraz Khan and constable D V Sharma, the spokesman said, adding the injured were admitted to army hospital.


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