PULWAMA: Militants struck at two places in southern Kashmir Monday and killed two police men and wounded five others.
The attacks took place at a time when security was already on heightened alert following reports of imminent militant strike in the district.
In the first incident a suspected militant stabbed one SOG constable identified as Bhopinder Singh in the crowded Pampore bazaar at around 11.45 a.m. Barely two hours later unidentified militants appeared near District Court complex in Pulwama and fired at a police party.
Eyewitnesses said at around 11:45 a.m, a youth appeared near Drangabal Pampore and tried to slit neck of the SOG constable with a sharp edged knife. The incident took place when contingents of Armys 50 RR, CRPF and SOG were present in the area.
Police sources said that the youth took out the knife out of his pheran and attacked constable Bhopindar Singh who hails from Dhar Basoli, Kathua. Singh received grievous wound in his neck and fell down. The attacker snatched his service rifle and tried to escape.
He however was overpowered after a brief chase by the government forces present in the area, eyewitnesses said.
Police later identified the assailant as Ashfaq Ahmed Khan son of Ghulam Nabi resident of Hundura Tral. He is being questioned and everything will be clear after his interrogation, a police officer said.
Residents said that forces present resorted to intense aerial firing soon after the incident which created panic in the area. Traffic on Srinagar-Jammu Highway came to grinding halt for about an hour.
Injured SOG constable who was rushed to SKIMS, Soura was kept under observation. Medical Superintendent SKIMS, Dr Farooq Jan said that the injured SOG man has deep stab wound on his neck and he is under observation. He has suffered C1, C2 and T2 which in medical terminology is called cervical vertebra fracture in vital area. The injured policeman is so far stable but due to critical wound we cant predict about his survival, Dr Jan said.
Meanwhile two hours after the Pampore incident militants struck in nearby Pulwama town. Police, SOG and CRPF personnel had already laid barricades on Srinagar-Pulwama road. Near Gangoo vehicles were being checked passengers frisked.
But militants appeared outside Court Complex and fired upon a police vehicle. The two sides exchanged fire for some time creating panic in the crowded area. People ran helter skelter and shopkeepers ran for cover.
In the militant firing two policemen received bullet wounds. Both were rushed them to District Hospital Pulwama. However one of them breathed his last on way to hospital while other died immediately afterwards.
The two deceased policemen have been identified as Mukhtiyar Ahmed Wani (484PL) resident of Syed Wari Qazigund and Farooq Ahmed Mir (70PL) resident of Vedpora Shopian. Locals and traders alleged that some SOG personnel went berserk soon after the militant attack and roughed up the passersby, an allegation police denied.
Sources said that in order to nab the militants, Army personnel from 55 RR, 183 Battalion CRPF, police and SOG personnel cordoned off adjoining areas of Court Complex. Reports said the Dangarpora and Washbough area were also sealed to nab the militants.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Abdul Gani Mir rushed to Pulwama soon after the incident and reviewd the situation.
A police handout issued in the evening said a wreath laying ceremony was held at DPL Pulwama to pay homage to the departed SPOs.
It said Farooq Ahmad Mir is survived by his aged mother and father, two brothers, sister, wife and a son while Mukhtar Ahmad Wani is survived by his widow mother, brother, wife and an infant daughter of two months.
Hizb claims responsibility
Warning that similar attacks would continue in coming days, Hizbul Mujahedin spokesman Baleegudin rang up KNS and claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.
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