Srinagar: Two policemen were killed after suspected militants opened fire at a police team inside SMHS Hospital in Srinagar on Tuesday morning.
The militants, according to the police, belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba who managed to free their accomplice Naveed Jutt alias Abu Hanzala. Abu Hazala was arrested in 2014 in connection with many cases including attack on a hotel located in outskirts of Srinagar City.
The broad day light attack inside the premises of Srinagar’s main hospital ended with the militants escaping into the narrow lanes of downtown Srinagar, a police official said. The official said that a manhunt was launched to nab the attackers and an alert has been sounded across the City.
Deputy Inspector General (Central Kashmir) Ghulam Hasan Bhat while talking to the reporters outside the scene of attack said that six accused were being brought to the hospital for a medical checkup when the incident happened.
“Six accused were being brought to the hospital for medical checkup. One of them, a Pakistani, was successful in running away,” Bhat said.
According to eyewitness accounts, the militants opened fire as soon as Jhut, along with five other prisoners and the police team, got off the vehicle outside the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the 70-year-old hospital. The pheran-clad militants were lying in wait in the parking lot of the hospital. Two Lashkar militants rained bullets at the police party and fled towards old city which falls in the catchment area of the hospital.
The incident left two policemen injured who were identified as head Constable Mushtaq Ahmad and Babar Ahmad. Head Constable Mushtaq Ahmad died immediately after the attack while as his colleague, Constable Babar Ahmad, was critically injured and admitted to the hospital. However, he succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
“It’s a very unfortunate incident and the militants managed to free one of their hardcore accomplices. We have sounded a red alert to nab all those involved in this crime,” said Director General of Police S P Vaid.
Jhutt, a school dropout from Borevella district of Multan in the Pakistan Punjab, is believed to be involved in multiple attacks. These include an attack on the Army in Hyderpora in the city, an attack on the Silver Star hotel along the national highway outside Srinagar and three attacks on police and CRPF camps in south Kashmir. He was arrested on August 26, 2014.
Jutt had undergone intensive training and was good in handling equipment like compasses, GPS, wireless sets and mobile phones installed with Skype software, a senior police official said. Police wanted to shift him along with five other prisoners from Srinagar jail to other high security jails outside the Valley but was disallowed from doing so by the sessions court on December 26, 2017.
Mohammed Naveed Jhutt, the 22-year-old LeT militant from Pakistan who was caught in Kulgam in south Kashmir in 2014, managed to escape with the assailants, police said. The ultras opened fire on the police party accompanying Jhutt, alias Abu Hanzala, outside the busy hospital in Kaka Sarai area, police said.
Meanwhile, a wreath laying ceremony for the slain policemen was held at District Police Lines in Srinagar.
Head-Constable Mushtaq Ahmad was resident of Dildar Karnah and is survived by his wife and an adopted minor daughter about 10 years old.
While as Constable Babar Ahmad Khan resident of Shangus Achabal is survived by his wife, two daughters (aged 3 and 2 years old), father, four brothers and one unmarried sister.