Militants occupy another mosque in Baramulla
18 March 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: In a desparate attempt to escape the wrath of security forces, militants this evening occupied yet another mosque in Baramulla district. Earlier today, militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba launched a broad daylight attack on Kashmir Frontier headquarters of Border Security Force (BSF) in the capital city here. However, the offensive failed as just one-odd soldier was reported injured. Informed sources told EXCELSIOR that, on a specific information, troops of Rashtriya Rifles 29 Bn launched a cordon-a-search operation in Meerangund, Naupora and Shrakwara villages near Sangrama (Sopore) this evening. During the search operation, two militants hiding in a house at Meerangund opened fire on the security forces, causing grievous injuries to two soldiers. Troops retaliated quickly but both the militants came out and took shelter inside the village mosque, at 1930 hours. Reinforcements rushed to the spot and threw a close cordon around the place of worship. Senior Police officials from Baramulla and Sopore also rushed to the spot to supervise the operation. This is the umpteenth incident of the militants occupying a mosque, in an attempt to escape, in Kashmir valley during the last six months. However, in all but two incidents, troops killed the holed up militants. In Shopian area, troops had given safe passage to militants while as DC Baramulla Naveen Chaudhary had succeeded to seek the surrender of two militants at a mosque in Sopore area, in January this year. Though the pro-Pakistan organisation has suffered considerable damages in the area during the last seven months, Sopore- Wagora belt of north Kashmir— the fresh scene of such stand-off— is still considered to be a bastion of Hizbul Mujahideen. Official sources said that militants fired a volley of RPGs in the direction of the Kashmir Frontier headquarters at Sanat Nagar, in the capital city, at 0845 hours this morning. One of the five rifle grenades, fired in the high security zone, hit the targetted formation and exploded on the premises. One soldier, namely Sanjay Kumar of 98 Bn, sustained injuries. He was rushed to a nearby hospital. It was after a lull of several weeks that militants attacked a paramilitary formation in the capital city here, that too in broad daylight. According to a local news agency, Lashkar-e-Toiba claimed responsibility, saying that 20 grenades were fired on the camp. However, officials insisted that only five rifle grenades were fired. The complex houses the offices of senior officials of the force, including that of the Inspector General. While one grenade exploded near a fuel dump and another in mid-air, three others went off outside a telephone exchange near the complex, triggering panic among the people, sources said, adding a BSF jawan was slightly injured in the melee. When contacted, a BSF official said the area, besides housing the force’s headquarters, has a number of security camps and the main depot of Indian Oil Corporation. Meanwhile, reports from south Kashmir said that Police today recovered the beheaded dead body of one Ghulam Rasool Ganai son-in-law of Abdul Karem Sheikh at Rishi Nagri, Shopian. Unidentified gunmen had reportedly kidnapped him from his home with the allegation that he had been an informant of the security forces. Later, he was slaughtered to death. Security forces have defused a landmine which had been planted by militants in Kupwara district on Drugmulla-Matipora road.