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Kashmir blast leaves three troopers dead

Srinagar
Jan 23, 2007:

Ahead of the India's Republic Day three paramilitary troopers were killed and five injured in south Kashmir when an Improvised Explosive Device planted by militants destroyed a vehicle belonging to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) today.

The security arrangements have already been beefed up in the violence ridden state, prior to the republic day celebrations, which are going to be held at various places on January 26. Militant activity usually increases during these days.

The incident occurred when a convoy of CRPF 143 Bn was heading from its headquarters at Awantipora to Panzgam. Soon after crossing the Sangam bridge, the IED planted near Wandana area went off killing three and injuring five paramilitary troopers in the convoy.

The dead CRPF personnel were identified as Constable Thomas, Driver S K Misra and Radio Operator Ganesh while the five others injured in the incident were shifted to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in central Kashmir.

Hospital authorities stated the condition of one of the five injured, Head Constable Devinder Singh as "critical".

CRPF PRO Prabakar Tripathi said that the militants had carried an IED blast out of desperation. "As special security arrangements have been made in Srinagar and other main towns, the militants have decided to strike in rural areas," he said.

Meanwhile, the moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the largest indigenous militant outfit have called for a strike on January 26.

Since the outbreak of militancy in late Eighties, a complete strike is observed in the valley on this day even as the Indian authorities, troops and paramilitary forces celebrate the day with pomp and show amidst unprecedented security.

Heightened security and tension gripping the valley weeks ahead of January 26 has now become a routine for the general population.

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