Five police personnel and two security guards of Jammu and Kashmir Bank were killed in a militant attack in Kulgam district this afternoon.
According to police a group of three Hizb ul Mujahideen (HM) militants headed by their commander, Umar Majid, of Souch attacked the personnel who were travelling in the cash delivery vehicle of J&K Bank at Pumbai today afternoon.
The calm in the area that falls in the highly militancy Kulgam district was broken after the attack in which five police personnel and two security guards of JK bank were killed.
“All the seven in the van, five policemen and two bank employees, were killed,” director general of police SP Vaid said. The Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack.
A Hizbul spokesman, calling himself as Burhan-ud-Din, made the claim over telephone to a local news agency. Burhan-ud-Din, Operational spokesperson of HM, said that the attack was carried out by a special squad of the outfit who besides inflicting casualties also snatched four service rifles from the policemen. He said that the militants didn’t kill the two bank employees but they were shot dead by CRPF personnel who were accompanying them.
“We didn’t attack the vehicle with an intent to loot the cash. We have enough cash. We condemn the killing of two bank employees and want to clarify that they were shot dead by CRPF personnel and not by militants,” Burhanuddin said adding that militants can never target innocent Kashmiris.
The area was combed after the militant incident as senior police and paramilitary officers rushed to the spot after the killings.
According to police officials the cash van had deposited cash in the Neehama village branch of the bank and was returning to Kulgam town when it came under attack. The van was returning to a bank in the village of Pumbai in Kulgam district, around 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of the main city of Srinagar, when it came under fire, Vaid said.
According to police official’s gunmen stopped the cash van of Jammu and Kashmir Bank in Pombai village of the district heading towards Kulgam after unloading cash at Nehama branch and opened indiscriminate fire. The gunmen also fled with the service rifles of the slain policemen.
The deceased police personnel were identified as ASI Bashir Ahmad Dar son of Abdul Gani Dar resident of Bonigam, Qazigund, SGct. Farooq Ahmad Bhat son of Abdul Aziz Bhat resident of Nehama, D.H Pora, Sgct Mohammad Qasim son of Abdul Bohu Khan resident of Awoora, Trehgam, Kupwara, Ct. Muzffer Ahmad son of Gul Mohammad Bhat resident of Y.K Pora, Qazigund, Ct. Ishfaq Ahmad Hajam son of Abdul Ahad Hajam resident of Zakoora, Batpora, Srinagar. Two security guards of JK Bank killed in the attack were identified as Javaid Ahmad Bhat resident of Vessu, Batpora Kulgam,and Muzaffer Ahmad Laway resident of Larnoo, D.H Pora, Kulgam.
Pertinently, suspected militants in recent months have targeted banks across Kashmir. Last week police said they foiled a bank raid in the southern district of Anantnag by two men who opened fire on paramilitary guards. One of the attackers was arrested while another managed to escape.