|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Stalemate between militants and police continues at Kulgam mosque
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | December 24, 2007 12:40 IST
Last Updated: December 24, 2007 15:17 IST
The south Kashmir mosque standoff between the holed up militants and surrounding security forces entered the second day on Monday, even as the militants refused to release five persons they are holding hostage.
Local authorities offered food for the hostages in the afternoon.
South Kashmir Deputy Inspector-General of Police Hemant Lohia told rediff.com, "We have laid a cordon around the mosque. We have nothing to lose. We offered food to the hostages and asked the militants to surrender."
Security forces had surrounded Palnu village on Sunday morning after they got information that some militants were hiding inside. After a brief encounter, the militants entered the local mosque. As soon as cops went near the mosque, the militants opened fire, resulting in injuries to a security person.
The DIG said the civilians took shelter in the mosque on Sunday morning to escape the flying bullets, following which they were taken as hostages by the three militants belonging to the Hizbul Mujaheedin outfit.
Lohia, however, clarified the food was being offered on humanitarian grounds for the hostages. "The militants have agreed to allow the entry of the food."
The incident occurred when Muslims across Kashmir were celebrating the holy festival of Eid-ul-Azha.
Earlier also such instances have occurred during which militants have taken shelter inside mosques and shrines in Kashmir.