Killing of 3 cops in militant strikes sparks concern

Srinagar/New Delhi: The killing of three policemen in Srinagar on Monday sparked concern among the security establishment at a time when infiltration from across the Line of Control(LoC) is showing a rise and intelligence inputs suggesting more local youths joining terror groups.

The Centre has sought a report from the state government on the incident while the Jammu and Kashmir Police appeared to make attempts to downplay the attack by terming it as an “act of desperation” by terror groups.

Three policemen were killed in two separate incidents in Srinagar in the space of 90 minutes. The first incident took place at Zadibal when youths pumped bullets into two policemen while the second occurred at Teng Pura where a PSO was killed.

“This is a desperation on part of militant groups and nothing else,” was how Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar and Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) S J M Gilani put it.

However, sources in the security agencies and the Union Home Ministry viewed the incident with more caution especially because intelligence inputs had forewarned last Friday about a possible terror attack in the city by cadres of banned Hizbul Mujahideen.

The sources said that nearly 15 youths from the Srinagar city itself are believed to have joined the militant groups like banned Hizbul Mujahideen this year and are understood to be acting as ‘sleeper cells’ and giving logistical support to some of the trained cadres. Last year, the figure of locals joining the militant ranks was stated to be at 92.

In the first incident, police appeared to be clueless as no eyewitness had come forward yet to help them in their probe whereas in the second incident at Teng Pura, some of the people told police that the two militants walked a distance after killing the PSO and fled the scene on a motorcycle.

There was a possibility that the same duo could have carried out the attack at Zadibal, which is nearly 15 km from the second encounter, the sources said.

The incident of selective targeting of policemen is taking place after a gap of three years. In June 2013, two policemen were killed by terrorists using a silencer-fitted revolver at Gonikhan Market in Srinagar.

The infiltration from across the LoC has also added to the woes of the security agencies as the number of militants sneaking into the country has increased during the January-May period with an unofficial estimate putting at 70. However, the army claims the figure to be less than 30.

According to the sources, Lashker-e-Taiba(LeT) militants are understood to have made their appearance at the higher reaches of Dara and Harwan areas.