Life bid on Sagar
Gunmen Open Fire Outside Minister’s Ancestral House In Old City, PSO Killed
Srinagar, Dec 11: A policeman was killed and three others including a civilian were injured when unidentified gunmen Sunday evening attacked Minister for Rural Development and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Sagar at Nawabazaar in old city here. However, Sagar escaped unhurt in the attack.
Police officials said that Ali Muhammad Sagar had gone to attend a function at his brother’s house at Shah Molalla in Nawabazaar area.
“At around 7:45 PM, gunmen opened fire on the escort party of Sagar Sahab. He (Sagar) was attending the function inside the house of his brother,” a senior police officer told Greater Kashmir.
He said one of the Personal Security Officers (PSO) Gulzar Ahmad got killed and two other cops and a civilian were injured in the attack. The injured cops were identified as Muhammad Yaqoob and Feroz Ahmad while the hurt civilian was identified as Ali Muhammad.
“The fire was retaliated and the militants taking advantage of the darkness fled from the scene,” police officer said.
A local said they heard gunshots in the vicinity which created panic among the inhabitants and learnt that the attack was on Ali Muhammad Sagar.
“There were some celebrations going on in our locality as his (Sagar’s) two nieces were getting engaged. Sagar had come to attend the party and suddenly gunshots were heard in the area,” said a local wishing anonymity.
Police said soon after the incident reinforcements were rushed to seal the area and a manhunt was launched to nab the culprits.
Sagar’s son and former Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation Salman Sagar told this newspaper that militants had appeared on the gate firing indiscriminately for five minutes.
“Militants were about to come inside as they were firing near the gate. The PSO’s retaliated the fire during which one among them got killed. He (Sagar) is safe and is at the Church Lane official residence,” Salman said who was also present at the spot.
When contacted, Sagar told Greater Kashmir; "Thanks to Almighty that I am safe. However, it's very sad that one of my PSOs died in this unfortunate incident."
Sagar, one of the senior National Conference leaders, is an MLA from downtown Khanyar locality.
“We were not informed about his arrival in the area,” a police officer in the area told Greater Kashmir.
Pertinently, it is the first bid on the life of a minister in the ruling dispensation since Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took over the reins of state in 2009. The attack came barely two weeks after the militants in the nearby Safa Kadal shot at and wounded a National Conference block president.
Over the past two decades, Sagar had escaped unhurt from the several attacks.
In 1997, three grenades were hurled in succession on Sagar’s residence when works minister Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Shah, forest minister Chowdhary Muhammad Ramzan, minister of state for information Bashir Ahmad Nengroo and minister of state for revenue Safdar Ali Beg, had come to attend the “Chaharum” of his father there.
An IED blast also took place near the official residence of Sagar in Gupkar area around the same time in which several persons were killed.
Four years later another abortive bid was made on life of Sagar in Baramulla district by unidentified gunmen. In 2002, a grenade was hurled towards the ancestral house of Sagar in downtown but nobody was hurt in the attack.
Doctors at SMHS hospital told this newspaper that Gulzar Ahmad was brought dead and the other three persons injured in the attack were being treated.
"One among the three had got fracture in leg," said a senior doctor.
Today at about 20:00 hrs some unidentified militants attacked Minister of Rural Development, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Sagar at his ancestral home at Shah Mohalla, Nawab Bazar, Srinagar. Three police personnel Gulzar Ahmad, Muhammad Yaqoob and Feroz Ahmad got injured in this incident. Later on Gulzar Ahmad succumbed. A civilian Ali Muhammad was also injured in the attack.
CM, MEHBOOBA CONDEMN
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Minister of State for Home Nasir Sogami condemned the incident and directed the state police to ensure speedy investigation to bring the culprits to book.
Nasir described the attack as ‘unfortunate’ saying “we are yet to ascertain whether it was an attack per se on him.”
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and the party president Mehbooba Mufti strongly condemned the attack.
“While we are relieved to learn that Sagar Sahab is safe, it was shocking to know about the tragic demise of one of his PSOs in the ghastly attack,” Mehbooba told Greater Kashmir over phone from Jammu.
Expressing solidarity with Sagar, Mehbooba conveyed her heartfelt condolences with the bereaved family of deceased PSO Gulzar Ahmad.
Senior PDP leader Tariq Hameed Karra also condemned the gruesome attack and expressed deep sorrow over the demise of the police constable Gulzar Ahmad.
YOUTH ATTEMPT TO SET ABLAZE CINEMA
Meanwhile, youth tried to set ablaze a desolated cinema in old city here on Sunday, police said.
“A group of youth tried to barge into Firdous cinema at Hawal, vacated by paramilitary CRPF recently, and tried to set it ablaze. However, their attempt was foiled,” a police official said.
“Some 10-15 youth demolished sandbags of the vacated bunker. They attempted to set the cinema on fire but we foiled it,” Senior Superintendent of Police Syed Ashiq Bukhari told Greater Kashmir.
Firdous Cinema, one of the popular theatres in the summer capital, was occupied by CRPF in early 1990s after outbreak of militancy. Militants during past 20-years carried out dozens of attacks, including a suicide attack, on the cinema which was turned into a security camp.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 12 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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