Indefinite Curfew In City Areas
SRINAGAR- Indefinite curfew was imposed in parts of the city tonight following killing of five persons belonging to a particular community by some unidentified gunmen at Mehjoor Nagar today.
A vast area around the place has been cordoned off and house to house searches launched to apprehend the killers.
The areas in which curfew was imposed fall in the jurisdiction of police stations Parimpora, Batamaloo, Rainawari, Ram Munshibagh, Sher Garghi, Sadr, Shaheed Gunj, Rambagh, Kothibagh, Maisuma. Army and para-military forces in strength have been deployed in these areas.
According to reports, 6 to 8 gunmen swooped on Mehjoor Nagar locality across Rajbagh around 6 30 p.m. today and resorted to indiscriminate firing on a group of Sikhs there. They also entered a couple of houses. In the shoot out over a dozen Sikhs, including three of a family, were injured, some of them seriously. The assailants who had reportedly come in a three-wheelers escaped from the area after the shoot-out.
All those injured were rushed to various city hospitals where four of them succumbed to their injuries.
Those admitted in nearby Bone and Joint Hospital were identified as Dharminder Singh (22) s/o Amarjit Singh r/o Aloochibagh, Amar Singh (35) s/o Prithipal Singh his mother, Chand Kour (48) and Balwant Singh (65) s/o Mai Chand Singh, all residents of Mehjoor Nagar. Of them, Balwant Singh succumbed to his injuries.
Four of the injured admitted in the SMHS hospital were identified as Surjit Singh s/o Nirmal, Samir Pal Singh s/o Kanwar Nain Singh, Kanwar Nain Singh s/o Khayam Singh and Satinder Kour w/o Kanwar Nain Singh, residents of Mehjoor Nagar. Of them, Surjit Singh and Samir Pal Singh succumbed to their injuries.
(According to a report, one Gurmeet Singh had died on the spot.) Some of those injured were shifted to the SK Institute of Medical Sciences where they were suited to in critical condition.
A NAFA report said late in the evening that army and para-military forces had cordoned off the Mehjoor Nagar locality and some adjoining areas and started house-to-house searches. A Brigadier from 311 sub-area was stated to be commanding the operation. The Inspector General of Police, Dr Ashok Bhan, was camping in the area along with several senior police officials.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that the security forces had entered several houses in the locality. A local agency rang up an acquaintance in the area twice this evening. The first time he talked to the friend, but when he rang up again, someone picked up the phone made no answer, suggesting that there was something wrong in the house. Fear and tension has gripped the locality, and reports indicated many residents had fled from their houses out of fear.
This is the second major incident in which members of the Sikh community have been targeted. On the night of March 20, 2000, some unidentified gunmen massacred 35 Sikhs at Chattisinghpora, remote village of Anantnag district A few days later the police claimed having killed the 'militants' responsible for the massacre However, subsequent developments belied the police claim, and those killed by it turned out to be local civilian youth.
It may be recalled a judicial probe headed by Justice R Pandian later indicted the police for the civilian killing following which the Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah had announced setting up of a commission of enquiry headed by a retired or sitting judge of the Supreme Court to probe the Chattisinghpora massacre
Dr. Abdullah even ignored the Pandian Commission recommendation to reinstate one Superintendent of Police on the plea that a linkage had been established between the Bragpora killing and the Chatisinghpora massacre. However, the commission of enquiry is yet to be setup.
(Kashmir Observer, 05 February, 2001)
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