Press Trust of india

Dhangri attack toll climbs to seven as one more person succumbs

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Rajouri/Jammu: The death toll in the attacks in Dhangri village of Rajouri has risen to seven with one more civilian succumbing to injuries at a hospital in Jammu on Sunday, officials said.

Prince Sharma, who was in his early 20s, died at the Government Medical College (GMC) Hospital Jammu, where he was shifted for specialised treatment along with several others after getting critically injured in the firing by terrorists in Dhangri on January 01, they said.

The attacks in the village had left six people, including Sharma’s elder brother Deepak Kumar dead. While four persons were killed and six others injured in the firing on January 01, two cousins were killed and nine other persons injured in a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in the village the next morning. “The IED was planted by terrorists before fleeing,” police said.

A massive search operation is on to neutralise the terrorists behind the attack, officials said.

A pall of gloom descended on the village as the body of the deceased reached his home in the afternoon with villagers led by Sarpanch Dheeraj Sharma demanding handing over the investigation of the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Hundreds of people gathered at the residence of the deceased to share the grief of Suraj Devi, who lost her both sons to the terror attack. Her husband Rajinder Kumar had died about four years ago due to illness.

She was inconsolable on seeing the body of her younger son.

“We appeal to Home Minister (Amit Shah) to hand over this case to the NIA immediately…We will not cremate the boy till our demand for NIA probe is met,” Sarpanch Sharma told reporters at Dhangri.

However, the mortal remains of Sharma were consigned to flames later in the day on the assurance of Deputy Commissioner Rajouri Vikas Kundal who along with senior police officers visited the villagers and assured them that all their “genuine demands” would be fulfilled.

The Sarpanch also said over a week has passed but the security agencies have failed to make any breakthrough and bring the culprits to book.

“The terrorists involved in the attack are still at large and roaming around. We are feeling insecure in our homes. The Lt Governor assured us that we will be provided weapons for self-defence within a week but it has not happened so far,” he said.

The Sarpanch said they have demanded a permanent Army camp in the village but authorities have assigned the task of guarding the village to CRPF personnel.

Expressing resentment against the administration, he also demanded a probe into the delay in shifting of the critically injured persons to GMC hospital Jammu.

“Prince Sharma was undergoing treatment at GMC Rajouri for three days before he was shifted to GMC Jammu. Why was he not taken to AIIMS Delhi or Northern Command-run hospital at Udhampur to save his life?” Sharma said, adding the probe is a must to fix the responsibility.

“We have no faith in GMC Rajouri and GMC Jammu. We demand that all the critically injured patients be immediately shifted to modern hospitals in the country for their better treatment,” he said.

Meanwhile, emotional scenes were witnessed as a group of relatives of the slain civilians left for Haridwar to immerse the ashes of the deceased in the holy Ganges.

A private vehicle decked with flowers and carrying the pictures of the deceased left the village amid sobs and wails with thousands of people turned up to pay their homage to them.

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