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Terrorists resort to ethnic-cleansing in Bani

JAMMU, June 11, 2003: The terrorists, have let loose a reign of terror in the hilly villages of Billawar and Bani tehsils. Last month, a special police officer and a woman were killed in two separate militancy-related incidents in Roulka village of Bani tehsil. In both the encounters, which followed, the terrorists managed to give slip to the security forces.

In Malkar also, which comes in the jurisdiction of Billawar tehsil, the terrorists continued to strike off and on, resorting to killings, kidnappings and extortions. On June 8, in broad day light, a group of terrorists, whose number was stated to be between five to seven, descended to the village Sadrota from the upper reaches. At gun point, they kidnapped four civilians and took them to an isolated area. They were later shot dead.

Next morning the police recovered their bodies from a forest area near Kamleo Gala village. The killed civilians have been identified as Sudesh Kumar (28), Hans Raj, both brothers and sons of Paras Ram. They belonged to village Raya Sayal. The other victims included Dhian Singh (40) S/o Jodh Singh and Prakash Singh (50), S/o Mast Ram, both residents of Morha Channa near Seri Galla, falling in village Sadrota.

The terrorists escaped after the killings. Tension gripped Malhar and Billawar as soon as the report of civilians killings spread. People resorted to shouting of slogans against police, alleging inadequate security arrangements in the area that led to the killings. Authorities disclosed that two army companies would be deployed at Sarthal, one company each would be stationed at Taggar and Bani. People have been demanding 'seek and destroy' operations against terrorists in this area, for quite sometime.

Meanwhile, a youth who was kidnapped by terrorists on the night of June 8, from a Dhok in the upper reaches of Punera in Basantgarh, Ram Nagar, was found murdered in forests on June 11. The victim, identified as 25-year old Rashpal Singh, son of Saneetu, had gone to the higher reaches to graze his goats. After kidnapping him, he was taken to some other dhok, where he was forced to cook their food and carry their belongings to other destinations for a few days. Efforts of Rashpal's family members to search him proved futile.

It was only after Basantgarh police intercepted a message of the terrorists regarding killing of Rashpal, the police and the villagers traced to body from the forest. His neck had been slit by the terrorists and the semi-decomposed body witnessed marks of torture.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

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