Militants strike in Jammu, kill two (Lead)

May 11th, 2008 - 11:13 am ICT by admin  

Jammu, May 11 (IANS) Militants struck in Jammu after a gap of six years, killing two villagers and injuring four others in the Samba sector early Sunday. An intense gun battle is on between the militants and the security forces. According to the police, militants shot dead Hoshiar Singh and his wife Shashi Bala of Kali Mandi in Samba, 45 km from here. Police and army units, alerted by the gun shots, ran towards the area and engaged the militants in a gun battle in which four people, including a photojournalist, were injured.

The militants are said to be hiding in a house.

Inspector General of Police (Jammu zone) K. Rajendra told IANS: “A big gunbattle is on.”

According to the official, the militants could be a group that had crossed into Samba sector from Pakistan Thursday night.

“They might have been lying low as there were ambushes laid in the area. But villagers must have spotted them this morning and then they must have opened fire.”

This is the first incident of a militant attack in the plains of Jammu since 2002. The injured have been shifted to Government Medical College Hospital, Jammu, police said.

Security forces suspect that the infiltration bid Thursday, recovery of a cache of arms and ammunition in the area and Sunday’s attack might be an attempt to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra that begins June 18.

“We have inputs of more militants coming from across the border in a bid to escalate violence and disrupt the Amarnath pilgrimage and the assembly elections scheduled for later this year,” said Maj. Gen. D. Choudhary, general officer commanding of 26 Division that is responsible for army deployment in the border areas.

Thousands of Hindus travel to Jammu via Samba on their onward journey to Kashmir to visit the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath at this time of the year. There have been attempts in the past to target devotees.

“The militants could not have intruded without the knowledge of Pakistani Rangers,” a police official said.

The Border Security Force (BSF), which guards the 187-km international border, had claimed that it had foiled the infiltration bid Thursday night and that over a dozen militants had retreated to Pakistan after firing 1,000 rounds from their weapons.

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