J-K phase II: Campaign winds down, violence up
21 September 2002
The Indian Express
Srinagar: The penultimate day of campaigning for the second phase of polls in J- K saw militant attacks intensifying attacks on political parties, their leaders and activists and, late in the evening, a suicide attack on the Police Housing Colony here. One policeman was killed and three others injured in the suicide attack. Reports said that two militants in police uniform were holed up inside a residential building at the colony. Samir Ahmad, son of a police officer, who lives in the same colony said that firing was going at 8.40 pm. ‘‘Firing is going on. I can hear the blasts and sound of bullets. They just shot a constable outside our residence. I have no idea how many militants are inside,’’ he said. The entire area has been sealed off and reinforcements rushed in, while families of policemen are being evacuated. Earlier in the day, yet another attempt was made to kill state Tourism Minister Sakina Itoo. One CRPF official and a teenage girl were killed when militants detonated an IED targetting her cavalcade in Kulgam today. They followed up the IED with firing. This was the fourth bid on Itoo’s life in the last fortnight. The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the target was not Itoo but the security forces guarding her. ‘‘Our Mujahideen carried a successful attack in south Kashmir. The target was not Sakina Itoo but the security forces guarding her,’’ a Hizb-ul- Mujahideen spokesman told a local news agency today. Militants attacked a Congress rally in Kokernag and the Awami League office at Qazigund and killed six persons. Four militants were also killed in an encounter with security forces at Zarandar in South Kashmir.