Srinagar: Two policemen were shot dead Monday and another was critically injured after stabbing in two separate incidents in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Special Police Officer Bhupinder Singh (belt no. 277/AWP) of Special Operations Group (SOG) was on way to attend the nature’s call in New Bus Stand Drangbal on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pampore town when a youth carrying a kitbag overpowered him and tried to slit his throat with a sharp edged knife, the police said.
While the cop suffered serious injuries in neck in the surprise attack, the assailant made an abortive bid to snatch his rifle before fleeing. However, the CRPF and cops, who were deployed on the highway, fired shots in air before grabbing the youth. The injured cop, who hails from Dhar Basoli in Kathua district of Jammu, was removed to sub-district hospital Pampore for treatment. However, the doctors there referred him to SKIMS, Srinagar. “(The cop) has suffered cervical vertebra fracture in vital area. (He) is so far stable,” Medical Superintendent SKIMS, Dr Farooq Jan told a local news agency.
Mushtaq Ahmad, an eyewitness to the stabbing incident, told Kashmir Reader that the assailant tried to unhook the rifle that was tied to the cop’s belt when the forces spotted him and rushed towards him.
“The forces spotted him and fired shots to ensure he doesn’t flee. As they caught hold of the youth, some boys pelted stones at the forces in order to secure the release of the assailant. The forces again fired shots to scare the stone pelting youth away. This led to fierce clashes between the two sides,” Ahmad said.
The gunshots and the subsequent clashes triggered panic in the busy marketplace. Shopkeepers downed their shutters, while vendors left their carts and ran for safety. The movement of vehicles on the strategic highway was also disrupted due to the clashes.
Meanwhile, police has identified the assailant as Ishfaq Ahmad Khan, of Tral township. Police said that he is a close relative of Abid Khan, Hizbul Mujahideen’s Divisional Commander for south Kashmir.
“Ishfaq was active for over a year. He stabbed the policemen and tried to snatch his rifle. However, our policemen foiled his efforts and caught him before he could escape,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Pampore, Zahoor Ahmad told media persons at the spot.
Barely two hours after the Pampore incident, two militants appeared near the district court complex in the main town Pulwama and fired indiscriminately at a police van causing injuries to Special Police Officers (SPOs) Mukhtar Ahmed Wani (484PL) of Syed Wari Qazigund and Farooq Ahmed Mir (70PL) of Vedpora Shopian.
The cops deployed in the area rushed to the spot and removed the duo to the Pulwama hospital. While one of the cops was pronounced brought dead by the doctors, the other was referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment. He died en route hospital, the police said.
The gunshots triggered panic in the area and prompted the traders to leave their shops open. The locals also charged the SOG and CRPF of going berserk after the attack. They said many people, including the passerbys were roughed up by the forces, triggering stone pelting in the area.
Soon after the shootout, Army’s 53 RR, 183 CRPF troopers and SOG laid a cordon around the court complex and started searches to nab the militants. The forces also carried out searches in Dangerpora and Washbugh areas.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) south Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said the slain policemen had received at least ten bullets. “It seems Lashkar is behind the attack,” he said.
Senior police officers including IGP Kashmir, Abdul Gani Mir visited Pulwama and took stock of the situation.