Tuesday, Sep 24, 2002
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Shujaat Bukhari
Security men taking position during a "fidayeen" attack on a polling booth at Gogji Bagh in Srinagar on Monday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
And they took the Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Saddar, and the Station House Officer, Rajbagh, hostage.
(A policeman trapped outside the building in the crossfire between militants and security forces escaped unhurt and was subsequently rescued by the security forces, reports PTI.)
Unconfirmed reports said that the militants also took some civilians hostage. The standoff was on till reports last came in.
The Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir zone, K. Rajindra Kumar, said Pakistan was "desperate" to disrupt the elections. Militants were hitting soft targets but "no major damage can be caused... we are making necessary arrangements to pre-empt their plans.''
Replying to a query, Mr. Kumar said "we have irrefutable evidence to prove that Pakistan is involved in causing trouble in the State."
Last year, 700 out of 1,336 militants killed were Pakistani nationals, and, this year, 400 out of 600 slain militants were foreigners. Only on Saturday, they had tried to kill innocent family members of police personnel in the Bemina Housing Colony, "but we foiled their attempts." It was Pakistan which was "training and aiding militancy here," he added.
Shortly after the authorities asserted that the security arrangements were in place, a police party patrolling the Gogji Bagh area of Civil Lines came under fire from militants hiding in a house close to a polling booth. Their bullets hit a police constable, Jagdev Singh, who died after being shifted to the hospital.
Police and paramilitary forces cordoned off the area and started house-to-house searches amid blasts and gunfire.
The Director-General of Police, A. K. Suri, the IGP, Kashmir, and other senior officers rushed to the spot. They were, however, unable to provide any details. Sources said two militants were holed up in the house. Election staff in the nearby Polytechnic College had been evacuated.
Earlier, the State Chief Electoral Officer, Pramod Jain, said "everything has been put in the right direction to conduct the elections tomorrow.''
An electorate of about 22 lakh voters in 28 Assembly segments of Srinagar, Budgam and Jammu districts would vote for a total of 263 candidates, including 20 women.
"We have learnt a couple of lessons in the first phase and will try to rectify them in the second round,'' Mr. Jain said adding that comprehensive joint sessions of trainings had been held for the election staff from outside and within the State.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |
Copyright © 2002, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of