Baramulla: An officer of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of police was killed and three other policemen injured Tuesday in a fierce gunfight with militants in Sopore town of this north Kashmir district.
At around 10.30 am, several bullet-proof vehicles carrying the personnel of SOG appeared at Sopore’s Chankhan locality and laid a siege around a residential house where militants were reportedly hiding, officials and eyewitnesses said.
As the SOG personnel started advances, the militants tossed a hand grenade followed by a volley of gunfire upon them. The cops returned the fire triggering a fierce gun-battle. In the exchange of fire that continued for nearly 10 minutes, four cops, including an officer sustained injuries.
The injured identified as Assistant Sub-Inspector Kafeel Ahmed (43-SPR), and constables Manzoor Ganai (822-SPR), Zakir (821-SPR) and Irfan (124-SPR) were removed to Army’s Badami Bagh Base Hospital, Srinagar. However, Kafeel succumbed to his injuries before the doctors could operate him, said Superintendent of Police, Sopore, Abdul Qayoom.
The number of militants involved in the attack was not immediately known, he said.
Soon after the attack, reinforcements from Army, police and CRPF cordoned off the area and started search operation. “However, the militants managed to escape from the area,” official sources told Kashmir Reader.
The gunfight triggered panic in the main market that was bustling with business activities. The traders left their outlets open and ran for safety. The movement of transport was also hit for several hours.
No militant outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile, daughter of the owner of the house, where police said militants were hiding, said that her brother Mushtaq Ahmed was picked up by police soon after the incident. She claimed that no militant was present in their house.
“We heard gun shots, and all the gun-wielding persons were in plain clothes. It was not clear who among them was militant or policeman,” she said, adding, “We were busy in routine chore when the incident occurred.”
This is the first major attack on the government forces this year. Last year, at least 63 militants, 61 forces personnel and 15 civilians were killed in various parts of the Valley in militancy-related incidents.