Millennium Post
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Singh-Sharif talks face terrorists’ booby traps

Even as three terrorists wreaked havoc in  Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday killing at least nine people, including a lieutenant colonel belonging  to the armoured corp, Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh reiterated he will go ahead with peace talks  with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York.

The two are scheduled to meet on Sunday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Pakistan envoy in New Delhi Salman Bashir said it is imperative that senseless acts of violence do not deter us from pursuing a path to a better future for our peoples.

‘Terrorism is a pernicious evil. Pakistan has been its foremost victim. We are committed to leaving no stone unturned to eliminate the spectre of terrorist violence from our society and our region.’

However, principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) urged Singh to call off the talks in view of the audacious attack. Addressing a rally in Tamil Nadu, party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi condemned the Centre for adopting a soft policy vis-à-vis Pak-sponsored terrorism.

On Thursday, three militants reached Hira Nagar police station in Kathua district, located about 7 km from the Pakistan border, at about 6.45 am and attacked it with grenades and automatic weapons killing five police personnel.

The suicide squad then boarded a truck on the national highway and commandeered the driver to arrive at an Army camp in Samba district. They struck at 16 Cavalry in Mesar area in which Lt Col Bikramjeet Singh and two soldiers were killed and four others were injured.

The area was then cordoned off as army personnel engaged in a fierce battle. Later in the day, Army officials confirmed that all terrorists have been neutralised.

The traffic on Jammu-Pathankot national highway was also suspended due to the gun battle.

Condemning the attacks, J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said the terror attacks were aimed to derail the peace process between India and Pakistan. An unknown outfit Shohada Brigade, suspected to be Lashkar-e-Taiba’s shadow or proxy name, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

An incensed BJP asked the government to cancel the Manmohan- Sharif talks. ‘The terrorists have attacked India almost at will,’ BJP president Rajnath Singh said, adding: ‘There should be no talks with Pakistan unless there is conducive environment.’

But Manmohan Singh, who arrived in Washington on Thursday, said, ‘Such attacks will not deter us and will not succeed in derailing our efforts to find a resolution to all problems through a process of dialogue’.
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