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May 19, 1999
Pakistan continues to shell Kargil, Drass
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
The handful of residents left in the otherwise deserted Kargil town and state government officials spent a sleepless night yesterday because of heavy shelling nearby.
A local resident reached by telephone said that throughout the night shells continued to rain on Khurbatang near which are some army installations.
The entire town was without electricity last night after the authorities switched it off for reasons of security. Power supply was restored in the morning.
The resident said the Indian Army returned the mortar fire and targeted the Pakistani positions.
This afternoon a shell hit the sub-district hospital at Drass, causing extensive damage. But no one was hurt as all the employees and local residents have deserted Drass.
The town witnessed heavy artillery exchanges this afternoon.
The situation at Kargil and Drass was reviewed at a high-level meeting in Srinagar presided over by Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.
The corps commander, other army officers, Kashmir-based chiefs of various wings of the security forces, and intelligence officers attended the meeting.
Director-General of Police Gurbachan Jagat and Chief Secretary Ashok Jaitley also attended the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Dr Abdullah said the "shelling in Kargil and Drass sectors amply demonstrates the evil designs of the neighbour to keep the pot boiling and internationalise the situation".
But he said it would not be allowed to succeed as "our defence forces are capable of meeting any challenge".
Referring to the Lahore Declaration, he said "the neighbour should have demonstrated restraint and allowed the normalisation process to succeed".
The chief minister stressed the need for close co-ordination among the various security agencies and the local administration "to combat the remnants of militancy effectively and stamp out the cult of gun".
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