Srinagar: At least three policemen were killed and eleven others were reported to have been injured in a fresh attack on a bus carrying police forces in Zewan area outside Srinagar last night. The attack was carried out by suspected militants near an armed police training centre.
Officials said the attack was carried out at about 6 pm on Monday after a vehicle carrying as many as 25 police personnel came under indiscriminate firing from assailants. The attackers were able to flee from the spot after injuring 14 of those onboard.
“Preliminary investigation has revealed that three militants had fired indiscriminately upon a police vehicle carrying police personnel of 9th Battalion near Zewan Pantha Chowk area of Srinagar,” a police spokesperson said, adding that, “The police party was coming back to the campus after finishing duties.”
The victims were rushed to hospital for treatment but two of them succumbed to their injuries within hours. They were identified as Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Ghulam Hassan, a resident of Top Neel Bharthand Ramban, and senior grade constable Safique Ali, a resident of Mamakoti Mahore village of Reasi district in Jammu province. Later, on Monday morning, another injured constable named Rameez Ahmad, a local of Ganderbal, was also reported to have succumbed to his injuries.
On the sidelines of a wreath laying ceremony, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir), Vijay Kumar said that the militants attacked the bus in a weapon snatching bid.
“Three militants, two of them foreigners and one local, fired indiscriminately at the bus in which our 14 jawans got injured. But they were not able to snatch even a single weapon as the police personnel were able to retaliate the attack,” he said.
The attack was carried out, according to the senior police official, after the Road Opening Party (ROP) had withdrawn from the spot. The attackers, Kumar said, were able to take advantage of the darkness to launch the attack but one of the militants was injured during the retaliation.
“We believe the attack was carried out by three militants, including two foreigners and one local affiliated with the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit. One militant has been injured and has left a blood trail. They were successful in escaping towards Khrew-Pampore-Tral belt,” he said.
The attack is considered as one of the most brazen attacks on police personnel in the region. It comes at a time when militants in Kashmir are facing a serious counter-insurgency campaign especially in the aftermath of a series of target assassinations of civilians in October that left many question marks in the security situation of the region.
The police, however, said that the attack was planned and they were tracking the attackers.
“They must have carried out a recce seeing that this bus was travelling routinely. We have received many inputs and we are developing it, so we will neutralise the group soon,” he added. The official added that the condition of others injured in the attack was “stable.”
Meanwhile, at least three militants were killed in two separate incidents in the union territory, which is witnessing heightened tension since October. Two militants were reported to have been killed in Srinagar’s Rangreth area after a brief shoot-out while another was killed during a suspected infiltration bid in RS Pura sector near the Line of Control (LoC). In another incident, a special police officer and his associate decamped with two service rifles from North Kashmir’s Kupwara area. The SPO was on guard duty with a BJP activist from the Anwarabad locality of the frontier district.
Earlier this morning, the Indian Army and JKP claimed to have killed another militant in Behramgala area of Poonch in the Pir Panjal region after an operation was launched on Monday.
“During the encounter in the early hours on Tuesday, the militant attempted to escape while opening fire at the security personnel, however, was neutralised in ensuing fire. One AK-47 Rifle, four magazines and pouches have been recovered from the slain,” PRO (Defence) Jammu said.
The increase in militancy related incidents has led to a major concern within the security establishment while many are accusing the authorities of portraying a false picture of the situation in the region.
“Terribly sad to hear about the Srinagar attack in which two policemen were killed. GOIs false narrative of normalcy in Kashmir stands exposed yet there has been no course correction. My condolences to the bereaved families,” People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.
A spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) while condemning the Monday’s attack said that the security situation had “deteriorated to largest extent” and that the government “must take measures to contain loss of lives.”