From KO Archives – Maulvi Iftikhar Escapes Bid, 11 Killed

SRINAGAR – Former min­ister and prominent Shia leader, Maulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari escaped with minor injuries while as 11 peo­ple were killed and 11 others injured in a landmine explo­sion at a congregation in a Pattan village Friday after­noon. Tension gripped several areas in this capital city and elsewhere soon after the news about the blast spread. Quoting a spokesman, an agency report said the Hizbul Mujahideen group had owned the responsibility for the blast.

According to reports, a pow­erful landmine explosion took place at 4.15 p.m. when Maulvi Iftikhar was about to address a 1,000-strong congregation in connection with the death anni­versary of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – according to Shia be­lief – at Gundi Khwaja Qasim near Pattan in Baramulla dis­trict.

Eyewitnesses said the Maulvi asked for shifting of the pulpit away from the spot which – had, incidentally, come directly trader the sun No sooner did he begin moving towards the pulpit, a massive explosion rocked the spot in the Imambara ground blowing up several per­sons.

An agency report said 11 people were killed and as many were injured on the spot. How­ever, the inspector general of police, Dr Ashok Bhan, put the casualties at nine persons killed and 11 injured, some of them seriously. He said four of the injured had been discharged af­ter first aid.                    

However, Maulvi Iftikhar es­caped with bruises. He and some of the others injured in the inci­dent were rushed to the insti­tute of medical sciences at Soura. The institute director, Prof Me’raj-ud- din, this evening described Maulvi Iftikhar’s con­dition as ‘stable’ and that he has been admitted for observa­tion’. Though conscious, he was in pain”, he said adding that a team of doctors examined him and observed bruises at his back and nape of the neck Talk­ing to reporters at the institute, Maulvi Iftikhar said he was feel­ing better.

Soon after the incident, agi­tated supporters of Maulvi Iftikhar poured into the streets at a number of places in the down­town city and elsewhere includ­ing Zadibal,. Saidkadal, Lawaypora, Chenabal,  Hanjiwera and some other ar­eas in Baramulla district. A’ house and a medical shop were ransacked and a private vehicle damaged near the spot. At some other places, irate youth pelted stones on passing vehicles.

IGP Dr Bhan, told Observer News Service late this evening the situation was, by and large, well under control and the secu­rity had been beefed up. “Secu­rity forces have cordoned off Gundi Khwaja Qasim and some adjoining villages and are con­ducting searches”, he said, adding that not much could, however, be expected as those who

had planted the improvised ex­plosive device (DED) might have left the spot much earlier.

The chief minister, Dr Earooq Abdullah, accompanied by the chief secretary, Ashok Jaitly, this evening visited Maulvi Iftikhar at the Soura Institute. In a statement, he said the gruesome incident should shake the confidence of those perpetrating violence in the name of religion “My heart goes to the bereaved families of the innocent victims”, he said.

Expressing grief, Governor, G C Saxena, said it was an at­tempt to provoke sectarian passions and violence! He ex­pressed sympathies with the bereaved families.             

The attack on Maulvi Iftikhar came barely a month after the minister of state for power Ghulam Hassan Bhat, was killed in a landmine blast in Anantnag district

Maulvi Iftikhar is the sitting MLA from Pattan constituency which he fought as a Congress nominee supported by the ruling National Conference. He was the minister of housing and urban development before he was asked to quit the cabinet after he fell out from the chief minister, Dr Abdullah.


Bashir Ahmad Gazi, SI (wire­less), Surateng, Sgr  Nisar Ahmad s/o Ghulam Rasool,Miigund (Pattan) Muhammad   Qasim   s/o Ghulam   Raza,    Hawal, Srinagar Mirza Muhammad Hussain (HusaLala), Qamarwari, Sgr,  Muhammad Qasim s/o Mohd Raza, Kralapora, Mirza Hasan, Qamarwari, Sgr,  Ghulam   Ahmad   Wani, Babapora, Magam Bashir Ahmad Joo, Bemina,

LIST OF INJURED: Muhammad Jafar, Asgar Ali, GhulamMubammad Mir , Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, Muhammad Akbar Rather Ghulam Ahmad Ganai, Ghulam Hussain Wani Muhammad Afzal Ganai

(Kashmir Observer, June 03, 2000)




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