3 killed, 8 injured as militants strike in Srinagar, Sopore
Incidents will happen as there are 245 listed militants still in Valley: IGP
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Mar 16: Striking in a big way simultaneously in Sopore and the business hub of Lalchowk in Srinagar, militants today left three persons dead and eight others wounded. Those killed in today’s broad daylight attacks on Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) included the PSO of Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Sopore and two salesmen.
Informed sources told Early Times that at least two pistol wielding militants fired upon a patrol party of CRPF 132 Bn at the crowded business street of Kokerbazar in close vicinity of Lalchowk. Two CRPF personnel and three civilians were injured in the shootout. They were quickly evacuated and rushed to hospital where one of the critically injured civilians breathed his last. Reportedly a salesman at a shop, he was identified as Khursheed Ahmed Parray S/o Abdul Gani Parray R/o Hawra, Khansahab, district Budgam.
Police and CRPF conducted searches but failed to get any clue with regard to identification and whereabouts of the militants, believed to be two in number.
Somebody, who claimed to be spokesman of the alliance of Al-Nasireen, Farzandan-e-Millat and Shuhada Brigade, told the local news agency, Kashmir News Service, over telephone that militants of the three outfits had jointly launched the operation. He claimed that two CRPF men were killed in the strike.
DIG Central Kashmir, Hemant Kumar Lohia, maintained that CRPF observed restraint and did not fire a single round in retaliation. Another Police official asserted that militants of Lahkar-e-Toiba and Harkatul Mujahideen were believed to have attacked the CRPF party even as some agencies were certain that it was the handiwork of Hizbul Mujahideen. DIG said that the militants left two CRPF personnel critically wounded and escaped while firing in different directions. He said that three civilians got hit in the militants’ indiscriminate firing. He said that one of the civilians, namely Khursheed Ahmed Parray of Hawra, Khansahab, Budgam succumbed to injuries while as one of the two CRPF men was battling for life with remote prospects of recovery at SKIMS.
Businesses remained shut in Kokerbazar, Lalchowk, Amirakadal, Hari Singh High Street, Maharaj Bazar, Goni Khan, Maulana Azad Road and Residency Road in Civil Lines even as the traders did not declare it officially as a mark of protest against the militants. Today’s shootout in Kokerbazar came after militants gunned down two civilians in Bemina and Jawahar Nagar localities of the capital city and also lobbed a hand grenade on a CRPF party at Pathar Masjid in the last seven days.
Sources in North Kashmir said that militants carried out yet another broad daylight attack on a Police party near General Bus Stand in the famous appletown of Sopore today. According to officials, at least two gunmen fired upon the Police party which was busy in a search operation and left five civilians and a PSO of SDPO Sopore wounded. During treatment at a hospital, SDPO Hamit Singh’s PSO, Ashiq Hussain (SPO), succumbed to injuries. Later, a 22-year-old salesman, working at a restaurant and identified as Tanvir Ahmed S/o Bashir Ahmed R/o Maharajpora, Sopore, also succumbed to injuries.
Sources said that four other civilians, including Shabroz W/.o Aijaz Ahmed of Dangiwacha, Rafiabad, besides another SPO, sustained injuries. They said that Shabroz and the SPO had sustained gunshot wounds. They further claimed that Sopore’s most wanted militant, Basharat Saleem, had been identified as one among the two militants who fired upon the Police party. A number of militant attacks on Police, security forces and civilian targets have taken place in Sopore in the last four months.
IGP Kashmir, Farooq Ahmed, told Early Times that Police and security forces had launched a manhunt for the four militants who had attacked the Police and paramilitary parties at the two spots today. “These incidents will continue to happen occasionally as there are still 245 listed militants in Kashmir”, he said. Officials, meanwhile, revealed that Srinagar Police succeeded in arresting a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant alongwith his pistol. He was reportedly a resident of Doda district.