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Rumours cause panic in Srinagar

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Last updated on: October 11, 2005 11:52 IST

Thousands of residents of Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar were forced to spend a sleepless, anxious night outside their homes waiting for what rumours said was another impending earthquake.

Mobile phone lines with worried friends and relatives 'warning' others did the rest as rumours were rife about 'an impending earthquake of even greater magnitude than that of Saturday.'

As the temperature fell down to around 5 degrees Celsius, shivering residents held on their frightened children who were woken by the announcements over loudspeakers in hundreds of mosques in the city.

At some places even Imams warned residents to vacate homes and stay in open spaces. Repeated assurances from police parties sent to various places to soothe the agitated residents had little effect.

Most of the residents had to be content with a glass of milk and fruit for the pre-dawn meal called Sehri the Muslims must have to begin the day's fast during the month of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the earthquake has gone up to 782, including 49 security men. The number of injured has also risen to 900 while 61 persons including army's potters are still untraced.

Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar