3 pilgrims shot dead, 5 injured in Kishtwar
15 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Three pilgrims, all children, were killed and five others were injured, one of them seriously, when a group of terrorists attacked the pilgrims of Hud Mata yatra at village Khora, about 15 kms from Hasti in Kunthwara area of Kishtwar tehsil in Doda district this afternoon. In other militancy related incident, a constable of the Indian Reserve Police (IRP) was killed and a civilian was injured in Gool, Udhampur while security forces eliminated a terrorist in Surankote, Poonch. Army gunned down a civilian in Sunderbani in what was described as a case of mistaken identity. Official sources said about 200 pilgrims of Hud Mata including women and children were attacked with grenades and automatic weapons at Khora. An escort party of police and para-military accompanying the pilgrims retaliated. The terrorists, who had taken positions atop a hill, managed to escape. Nine pilgrims were injured in the grenade explosions and firing. Of them, three children succumbed to their injuries before they could be evacuated to hospital. Condition of another injured was stated to be serious, the sources said. Identity of deceased and injured couldn’t be ascertained immediately due to communication gap. Police parties from Kishtwar reached the spot late tonight after trekking several kilometers on foot. Injured were being shifted to Kishtwar hospital. SP Doda Vijay Singh Samyal also left for spot this evening from Doda. A search operation for the terrorists was expected to be launched tomorrow morning. According to sources, the terrorists’ attack on Hud Mata pilgrimage was pre- planned. They had laid an ambush for the pilgrims after taking positions atop a hill that over-looked the pilgrimage route. Meanwhile, a group of terrorists attacked a post of IRP third battalion at Deeda, Gool in Udhampur district at 0300 hours today. An IRP constable Mohd Iqbal, a resident of Srinagar, was killed in the attack. A civilian Mohd Yusuf son of Abdul Gani R-o Deeda was caught in exchange of firing and got injured. He has been hospitalised. After about half an hour long exchange of firing, the terrorists fled away, the sources said, adding an operation for the terrorists was launched this morning but they remained untraced. Security forces, meanwhile, gunned down a terrorist in Phagla Nursery in Surankote tehsil of Poonch district today. The terrorist was killed after about an hour long encounter in which his two associates escaped. From the possession of slain terrorist, security forces recovered one AK-56 rifle in damaged condition, one AK magazine, 10 rounds and three hand grenades. One Self Loading Rifle (SLR), three magazines of SLR, three magazines of .303 rifle, 290 rounds of BDR, one kg RDX and an IED were recovered by security forces in another search operation in Thanna Mandi. A civilian Ashok Kumar son of Tulsi Ram R-o Raya Siote was shot dead by a Sentry on duty at an army camp at Chowki Choura in Sunderbani area of Rajouri district at 0300 hours today. An official handout said the civilian was killed as he didn’t heed to the warnings of Sentry to stop. Body of the civilian has been handed over to his family after completion of legal formalities.