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Army major killed, Kashmir mosque under siege

Army major killed, Kashmir mosque under siege

Mukthar Ahmad
Rediff on Net
March 26, 2000
Title: Army major killed, Kashmir mosque under siege
Author: Mukthar Ahmad in Srinagar
Publication: Rediff on Net
Date: March 26, 2000

An army major and a solider have been killed in an exchange of fire with militants hiding in a mosque in Handwara district, 80 kilometres from Srinagar.

A defence spokesman said that three militants were also killed when they tried to flee the shelter.

The army personnel have the mosque in Dodipora Chek village, which falls in the border district of Kupwara, under siege now.

A senior police official told rediff.com that the troops had cordoned off the mosque late Saturday night. They came under automatic fire from the militants inside. Rashtriya Rifles Major Ravinder and a soldier died and three other personnel were injured, they added.

Civilian sources said that intermittent firing still continued. The area was tense. Senior security personnel, including the police, were on the scene.

"The troops have been asking the militants to surrender but they keep firing in reply," the sources said.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister L K Advani, who, along with Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah and Governor Girish Chandra Saxena, visited the Chatti Singhpora where 35 Sikh villagers were shot dead, has assured the minority community that the government would provide them adequate security.

There would be a security ring around such vulnerable villages now, he said, which would comprise the state police and the paramilitary with backing from the army.

"Their sacrifice won't go waste," Advani said.

He added about the brain behind the killings, "They have challenged the brave and will have to face consequences. We will frustrate their designs."

The home minister said that Kargil, the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight and now the killing of the Sikhs have isolated Pakistan from the world.

His government, he reiterated, was "pursuing a pro-active policy to combat militancy in Kashmir."

The Sikhs, for their part, raised slogans and repeatedly told the home minister, "We will not stay here."

In another development, two militants were killed in a gun battle with the Border Security Force in Nowgam, on the outskirts of Srinagar, Saturday night.

In Pattan, a police spokesman said, militants hurled grenades and fired rockets at a police station. There were no casualties, but the station building has been damaged.

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