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J&K minister escapes bid on life

A correspondent | July 06, 2005 17:22 IST
Last Updated: July 06, 2005 23:19 IST

Jammu and Kashmir minister of public health engineering Syed Bashir Ahmad narrowly escaped a bid on his life on Wednesday evening.

The minister's car was damaged and three security men were injured in the militant attack at heavily guarded Lal Chowk of Srinagar.

The unidentified militants chased the minister's car before firing at it on a busy intersection.

Ahmad remained trapped inside his bullet-proof car 30 minutes as the militants fired at his car from close range.

Early reports had given conflicting version of the incident. Agencies had even quoted the minister as saying that he was not in the car at all.

Security forces were caught off guard and it took a shocked administration some time to organise rescue operations.

While the police rescued the minister, the militants managed to escape the scene.

"I watched helplessly as they pumped bullets into my car bursting its tires," the visibly shaken minister said after he reached his residence.  "I thought for a moment that it was all over for me."

The entire Lal Chowk area shook with gunfire as evening commuters and shopkeepers ran for cover.

Traffic went berserk in the main commercial hub of Srinagar.

Senior ministers and top bureaucrats were shifted to safety after the news of the shooting reached the secretariat.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police recovered two AK-47 rifles in a search conducted after the incident.

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