Two civilians killed, 5 jawans among 28 injured in Surankote
29 April 2002
The Daily Excelsior
POONCH: Two civilians were killed and 28 others including five army personnel were injured when two ‘fidayeens’ (suicide squads) struck in heart of Surankote town this morning attacking an army vehicle. Both ‘fidayeens’ were eliminated by police and army within 10 minutes of the attack. SSP Poonch Dr Kamal Saini told EXCELSIOR this evening after visiting Surankote that two terrorists, suspected to be Pakistanis, appeared in Surankote Bazaar at 1140 hours today and lobbed a grenade on an army vehicle. Immediately thereafter, the terrorists opened indiscriminate firing on the troops. While firing, the terrorists jumped inside a spare parts shop owned by Syed Muzammal Hussain Shah and took positions inside. They continued firing on the civilians, who were running in panic after hearing the sound of gun shots. Police and army personnel retaliated the firing immediately. Police parties from Surankote police station also rushed to the scene of fidayeen attack and laid a cordon in the area. Within 10 minutes of cross-firing, the police and army personnel gunned down both the fidayeens. A total of 30 persons including five army jawans were injured in the attack. Of them, two civilians succumbed to their injuries in the sub district hospital of Surankote. Injured army jawans were shifted to Military Hospital while the injured civilians were undergoing treatment in Surankote hospital. The spare parts shop owned by Syed Muzammal Hussain Shah son of Yasin Shah, a resident of Snehi caught fire in the exchange of firing and was gutted. Soon after the fidayeen attack, the shopkeepers deserted their shops and fled to safety while some of them were trapped in the firing and got injured. A total chaos prevailed in the town for half an hour with people running from one place to other to escape the firing. The area, where the terrorists struck, was humming with activity as the Panchayat office was in its vicinity. Several civilians including employees of the Panchayat office took shelter inside the Government building and survived. Traffic in the town also went off the roads soon after the attack. The vehicles heading for Poonch were also stopped outside Surankote by local police. Meanwhile, two civilians killed in the attack have been identified as Showkat Hussain Shah son of Yusuf Shah, a resident of Bachianwalli, Surankote and Safdar Hussain Shah son of Al Shah R-o Sheendara, Poonch. While Showkat Hussain died immediately after his hospitalisation, Safdar Hussain breathed his last after about one hour. Both had sustained multiple bullet and splinter injuries in the terrorists’ attack. The fidayeens killed in retaliatory firing by army and police hadn’t been identified till this evening. Body of one of them had been badly charred beyond recognition while body of second ultra too had been hit with multiple gun shots. Both of them were killed inside the spare parts shop, where they had taken positions after throwing the grenade on army vehicle. Police said both the terrorists were believed to be Pakistanis and activists of Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit. Both were aged between 22 to 25. From their possession, police recovered one AK-56 rifle, one Chinese pistol and six magazines. Injured admitted in Surankote hospital have been identified as Wajid Ali, 21, son of Atta Mohd R-o Morha Bachchai, Mohd Sadiq, 40, son of Sattar Mohd R-o Allar Kattal, Abdul Gani, 26, son of Makhna R-o Malhan, Liaquat Ali, 16, son of Mirwaiz R-o Marhot, Manzoor Hussain, 30, son of Raj Mohd R-o Marhot, Azbar Hussain, 30, son of Mohd Din, Javed Iqbal, 28, son of Jalal Din, Mohd Munshi, 28, son of Jamal Din, all residents of Lassana, Shakoora Bi, 45, wife of Mohd Din and Fatima Bi, 20 wife of Mohd Yusuf, both residents of Marhot, Kabir Hussain, 23, son of Abdul Hussain R-o Dundak, Ghulam Mohd, 50, son of Wali Mohd R-o Sangla, Abdul Hamid, 20, son of Kismatullah R-o Potha, Makhna, 60, son of Dhara R-o Malhan, Shadi Khan, 65, son of Fateh Khan R-o Dugran, Rabeen Begum, 20, wife of Mohd Rashid R-o Jharan Wali Gali, Nazarat Hussain, 35, son of Karamat Hussain R-o Samot, Wazir Mohd, 45, son of Buland Khan R-o Morha Bachchai, Abdul Majid, 23, son of Ghulam Mohd R-o Sangla, Khalid Mohd, 14, son of Munir Hussain R-o Morha Bachchai, Bagh Hussain alias Baggi R-o Marhot, Liaquat Hussain, 13, son of Mohd Jamal R-o Sangla and Mohd Yusuf, 32, son of Mir Mohd R-o Hari. Identity of injured army jawan was not disclosed by the Defence authorities. This was first fidayeen attack by the terrorists in Surankote town, which took place in broad day- light. Previous such strikes were limited to the security forces camps. Traffic on Surankote-Poonch road was restored at 1500 hours after army and police lifted cordon in Surankote. However, panic loomed large on the shopkeepers and local people after the attack. Most of the shops remained closed during the day.