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J&K attack: Inside job suspected

The revelation came after seven people, including two terrorists, were killed in an attack on a political rally on Sunday.

india Updated: May 22, 2006 10:12 IST

The Govt suspected an "inside job" to sabotage a peace initiative of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Jammu and Kashmir.

This came came after seven people, including two terrorists, were killed in an attack on a political rally on Sunday.

"It was a huge security lapse. We suspect it could be an inside job (ahead of the Prime Minister's visit)," Home Ministry sources in New Delhi said of the attack on a Congress rally to commemorate the 15th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that also left 22 people injured.

Five civilians and two terrorists were among those killed.

The sources drew a parallel between Sunday's attack and that in Srinagar April 6, 2005, a day ahead of the launch of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service.

"The whole attempt is to derail the (ongoing India-Pakistan) peace process," the sources said.

Manmohan Singh will be visiting Srinagar on May 24-25 for a second roundtable conference with Kashmiri leaders.

Jammu and Kashmir Inspector General of Police K Rajendra and Deputy Superintendent of Police Shiekh Faisal Quyoom were among those injured in the attack at the Sher-e-Kashmir Park in the heart of the city when two terrorists lobbed hand grenades and fired indiscriminately from automatic weapons.

Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have condemned the incident, terming it a cowardly act.

Mohammad Amin, a youth Congress worker, gave a graphic description of the attack.

"The guerrillas came running inside the park firing indiscriminately from their automatic weapons," Amin said.

"I heard everyone shouting for help around me. Bullets were flying in every direction and I lay on the ground. Firing stopped briefly and everyone crawled to safety," Amin added.

Paramilitary reinforcements were rushed to the spot and the area around the park was surrounded.

Police officer Rajendra, who received a bullet injury in his right thigh, was shifted to Medical Institute Soura for specialised treatment.

The condition of three injured people is stated to be serious.

"Four people including three civilians and a cop died on the spot while another critically injured policeman succumbed to his injury in the medical institute," the officer said.

Farooq Ahmad, the deputy inspector general of police of central Kashmir range, who led the operation at the park, said one of the guerrillas was gunned down by security forces inside the park.

"The other guerrilla who tried to escape was gunned down in the adjacent polo ground," he said.

The attack took place minutes before the scheduled arrival of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was to address the rally.