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Attack on Congress HQ, NC vehicle in J&K, 20 injured

Three days ahead of elections in Srinagar, terrorists stepped up violence, injuring 20 people in a series of blasts.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Srinagar
PUBLISHED ON APR 23, 2004 08:48 PM IST

Three days ahead of the elections in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, terrorists on Friday stepped up violence by launching grenade attacks at the Congress headquarters and a campaign vehicle of National Conference here that left 20 people, including five security personnel and two journalists, injured.

Terrorists lobbed at least three grenades at the Congress headquarters, located near the Lal Chowk, and tried to storm the building by firing indiscriminately. The security personnel deployed at the Congress office retaliated, forcing the militants to take refuge in the adjacent building.

The militants, whose number was yet to ascertained, were still believed to be holed up in the building and efforts are on to evacuate the people before launching the operation to flush the terrorists out, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) K Rajendra Kumar, who was leading the operation against militants, said.

Congress workers in the party headquarters and students from the neighbouring Women's College have been evcauted as a precautionary measure, he said.

Official sources said that a Deputy Superintendent of Police of Special Spervices Bureau (SSB) CC Pathak and one more security personnel have been admitted to hospital in a critical condition.

A cameraman of a television news agency and a photographer of a national daily received splinter injuries in their limbs and were out of danger. A civilian identified as an auto-rickshaw driver, Rafiq Ahmed Lone, was among those injured.

Intense firing followed the blasts causing panic in the area. People ran for their safety, shopkeepers pulled down shutters and traffic was stopped on busy MA Road, Sherwani Road and the surrounding areas.

Two terror outfits Al-Mansurian and Kashmir Freedom Force, believed to be shadow outfit of Lashker-e-Taiba, have separately claimed responsibility for attack on the Congress headquarters.

In another attack, militants lobbed a grenade at a National Conference vehicle at Rambagh in the outskirts of the city injuring five people, including a cop.

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