January 2001 News

18 killed in J&K, 6 intruders shot dead

21 January 2001
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: EIGHTEEN people were killed and more than 50 injured on Sunday in two explosions and a gunbattle in one of the bloodiest days in Jammu and Kashmir in recent weeks. Four civilians and two soldiers were killed when a public bus was targetted in a powerful landmine explosion near Kreeri township, 45 km of Srinagar. The blast injured 22 people, including eight soldiers. A police spokesman said the perpetrators of the crime used a remote-controlled device to trigger the explosion. The blast took place at 10.15 am and left a huge crater on a rough link road connecting Kreeri with neighbouring Patan township. Police said the militants had used 20 kg of RDX plastic explosive. Hospital sources said the condition of four of the wounded civilians and three soldiers was critical. Elsewhere, two civilians and a policeman were killed and 20 injured in a grenade explosion at Rajpora village, near Pulwama town, 30 km south of Srinagar. The grenade was tossed at a security patrol, but missed its target and exploded among a crowd of pedestrians. In another incident, security men shot dead six militants who were trying to sneak into from Pakistan, a state government spokesman said. 'Alert villagers saw seven men crossing the border into India. They alerted the police and our troops immediately swung into action,' K.D. Jandiyal told AFP. Army spokesman Randhir Sinh said: 'Six of the Pakistanis were killed ... Two officers and two soldiers were hurt in the encounter.' The day began with a bomb explosion near the ruling National Conference's headquarters. The blast was so powerful that it damaged several vehicles parked in the area. The bomb was hidden in a garbage trolley. Tensions were running high in Srinagar today following the overnight death in police custody of an activist from the regional Muslim League party. Srinagar residents said Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat was arrested on Friday night and he died in the custody of anti-insurgency commandos of the state police department. The police, however, described Bhat as a wanted militant and said he was killed in an encounter.


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