February 2001 News

7 kids among 15 killed in ceasefire's worst massacre

10 February 2001
The Indian Express

RAJOURI: In the worst massacre of civilians since the Ramzan ceasefire was announced three months ago, militants are suspected to have struck in a remote village in the border district of Rajouri killing at least 15 members of three Muslim families. The dead include three women and seven children. This happened hours after four Lashkar militants stormed the police control room in Srinagar and killed eight policemen. Sources said the massacre occurred last night in Salohi village in the Budhal tehsil but security forces came to know of it only this morning. One reason is the treacherous terrain: one has to trek for at least 10 hours to reach the nearest road from the massacre site. Officials added that was there was no clear confirmation as to who was behind the killings. They said that 15 charred bodies were found from inside three shelters which were also burnt down. Sources said the victims were the relatives of four Village Defence Committee members, Abdul, Sharief and Guzral, who were killed as well. These three also worked as porters for Army units deployed in the area. Troops who reached the massacre site from Mahore have launched a massive manhunt to track down the killers. Mufti Islah adds from Srinagar: A militant, a taxi-driver and eight policemen were killed and 12 injured in the police control room sneak-in attack which ended early this morning. Sources said only one Lashkar-e-Tioba militant had been killed contrary to the police's earlier claim that all four militants were gunneddown. Sources said the other three escaped under the cover of darkness and the barrage of gunshots. A Lashkar spokesman said that the group had "lost" only one militant, Abu Mauya, and three have returned to their hideouts. According to a police officer, however, two militants have been killed. He said that two jawans were killed in the initial burst offiring after militants ran towards the high-security installationhousing hundreds of personnel, including senior officers. The officialsaid Romesh Jalla SP (South) and 12 colleagues were stable. The slain arehead constables Abdul Majid, Tariq Ahmad, Javeed Ahmad, Mohan Lal, ShameemAhmad, Zahoor Ahmad, Raj Singh and Farooq Ahmad (driver). The officer said that four militants stopped at the PCR junction afterdisembarking from a taxi (KMT-936), lobbed four handgrenades and opened fireon the cops manning the main gate killing one guard on the spot. He said as many as a dozen personnel were also injured. The officer said two or three militants managed station themselves in thebuilding adjacent to the SP's office. Later, the Army and the BSF launched an operation to flush them out. One militant was killed in the encouter and the two others escaped. The PCR is centrally located and neighbours somne important installationslike the Civil Secretariat, Fire Station, High Court, besides the AuditorGeneral's building. Meanwhile, the Lashkar-e-Toiba, warned policemen against carrying out "extra-judicial killings." Salauddin Ayubi, the Lashkar spokesman, said that if the police, especially the Special Operations Group, do ot "delink" themselves from counter-insurgency operations, policemen would be targeted. Among the injured are Romesh Jalla SP (South) and 12 colleagues. The slain are: head constables Abdul Majid, Tariq Ahmad, Javeed Ahmad, Mohan Lal, Shameem Ahmad, Zahoor Ahmad, Raj Singh and Farooq Ahmad (driver). The taxi driver has been identified as Mohammad Sidiq.


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