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September 14, 1999
Mufti, Farooq's brother escape assassination
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Jammu and Kashmir Medical Education Minister Dr Mustafa Kemal and a National Conference legislator escaped attempts on their lives in three different incidents on Monday afternoon.
The police said militants set off a landmine when the Mufti's motorcade reached Nowshehra on its way to Srigufwara when he was scheduled to address a public meeting near Bejibehara in southern Anantnag district. The mine extensively damaged his escort vehicle, but the Mufti, whose car had just crossed the site where the explosive was planted, escaped miraculously. The driver of the escort vehicle, who received injuries in the blast, is recovering in hospital.
The Mufti was later escorted to the venue of his meeting by troops. Last week, the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate for the Anantnag Lok Sabha election, Ghulam Hyder Noorani, was killed in a powerful blast in the same area.
Earlier on Monday, militants attacked the motorcade of Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, the younger brother of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, when he was returning home after addressing a poll meeting near Kunzar. The police said the militants fired at the motorcade at close range from automatic weapons. Security personnel in the minister's escort vehicle engaged the militants while the driver of Dr Kemal's bulletproof car drove him away to safety. In the firing, one security guard and two civilian bystanders received injuries.
National Conference MLC Javed Ahmad Shah escaped unhurt in a militant ambush at Erin Bandipore in north Kashmir. The police said the militants fired on Shah's motorcade, but his security guards drove the intruders away.
Addressing a poll meeting at Kupwara, Dr Abdullah announced the deployment of more troops in the district. He said he would travel to Delhi soon to seek more central security forces. "I will set up camps in every village and these militants will be left with only one way -- surrender or get killed."
The state government has provided more security guards to the candidates contesting the general election in Anantnag and Baramulla which go to the polls on October 4 and September 25 respectively.
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