BSF man, JKP constable killed in fresh attacks

Police fear militant surge in Shopiyan as LoC grows tenser

Srinagar:  A constable from Border Security Force was killed Thursday in an exchange of small arms fire between Indian and Pakistani forces in Nowgam sector of the Line of Control, officials here said. Meanwhile an army man who had sustained injuries in a skirmish with militants in South Kashmir’s Shopiyan district succumbed to injuries. The district remains volatile as today another policeman was hurt in a shootout in the same district. Meanwhile Police Chief K Rajindera has feared escalation of violence in the apple-rich Shopiyan district and asked the youth to focus on education and sports activities “rather than getting swayed by the glamorized form of violence.”  

Details suggest one constable Krishan Kumar Dubey (belt No: 13312690) of  BSF 119 battalion was killed when Pakistani Rangers opened heavy gunfire on Karam picket in Nowgam sector of Handwara in the frontier district, GNS reported quoting officials. The Pakistan Rangers, the agency report added, started firing heavily upon the picket around 6:00 pm today.

“The exchange of gunfire continued for at least half an hour,” the official said, adding “The troopers death led to escalation in the exchange of fire between the two sides”

Meanwhile a policeman was injured after unknown gunmen opened fire upon him near Court Complex in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Thursday.

Mohammad Ashraf Akhoon, a constable (Belt No. 706/Spn) who was performing his duties near court complex in the district when gunmen attack him from point blank range. In the attack the cop sustained bullet injuries, a police official said.

Akhoon, a resident of Harwan, Srinagar was immediately shifted to hospital for treatment where his condition is said to be stable, the official said.

Soon after the attack government forces launched searches in the area to nab the attackers, the official added.

A soldier, who was critically injured last night in a brief gunfight at Imam sahab area of Shopiyan, succumbed to injuries Thursday morning.

Official sources said that army’s 62 RR and SOG had cordoned off the Barbugh village in Imamsahab area following the specific information about the presence of some militants.

As such the joint team of forces had laid the cordon in the village, the militants opened heavy fire upon them and gave slip to the joint team of troops, they said.

In the initial gunfire, a soldier Anesh Kumar had received serious bullet injuries, they had said, adding that the injured Kumar was immediately shifted to army’s 92 base hospital here in Srinagar.

Kumar today morning succumbed to injuries, the official added.

Meanwhile Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police K Rajindera has asked his personnel to remain extra vigilant in Shopiyan as he has indicated a fresh surge in militancy in the district. Shopiyan and Tral areas have seen stepped up anti-militant operations in recent weeks. However, the militants managed to give slip to forces three times since Sunday. On Thursday too the forces conducted a search-and-cordon operation at Barbugh Imam Sahab area.

“The motive of attacks on police is to snatch weapons. The new recruits need weapons and that is why these attempts are being made,” a top Police  official said.

A GNS report quoting sources said the militants hailing from neighboring Pulwama are also active in the district. “There are around 30 militants active in both the districts. Majority of them are associated with Hizbul Mujahideen. These militants are highly motivated,” the report added.

Another police official, however, said that the militants are under pressure and that is why they are carrying attacks on forces. “They want to ease the pressure,” he said.

Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendra Kumar has said the operations to neutralize the militants are on in Shopian.

“The cordon and search operations are underway in the district. Yesterday there were operations as well and they are continuing,” he told GNS The DGP admitted that new boys have joined the militant ranks in the district but he said that several of them have been brought back by police.

“We have successfully brought several youth back into mainstream after proper counseling,” he said.

When asked why local youths are joining militant ranks, he said: “some elements are misguiding them.”

“I appeal youth to focus on education, sports and nation building instead of joining militants. They should work hard for the betterment of their career and future,” he added.

Hizb claims twin attacks

Srinagar: Militant outfit Hizbul Mujhadeen Thursday claimed the responsibility of Shopian attacks on government forces, in which according to the outfit two troopers were killed and two others were injured.

A patrolling party from 62 RR came under heavy fire from suspected militants near Burbugh Shopian during the late hours on Wednesday. The patrolling party was on way to Shopian from Imam Sahab. The suspected militants indiscriminately fired on the troopers that resulted in the serious injuries of a trooper who according to Defence sources was immediately rushed to 92 Base Army hospital Badamibagh for treatment.

Locals alleged that Army personnel went on a rampage during the cordon and search operation, a charge refuted by the Chinar Corps spokesperson. Reports said that soon after the attack, reinforcement was called and Army, CRPF and SOG Shopian jointly cordoned off the Burbugh village. “The search operation continued till 8 on Thursday morning. People were directed to come out from their houses and were made to assemble at one place. During Sehri time, some Army personnel went on a rampage after few locals demanded that search operation should be called off and they should be allowed to take Sehri,” locals said adding that few youth were severely roughed by the government forces, prompting people to protest in the midst of the night.

Locals said operation was concluded at 8 in the morning, however, barely after four hours, Government forces again cordoned off the area to flush out the militants. “We had again received the inputs about the presence of militants and that is why area was again cordoned off. But no militant was found in the area,” said a police official.

Suspected militants again attacked a police party outside court complex in Shopian district, in which a police constable Muhammad Ashraf Akhoon was critically injured. Station House Officer Shopian Police Station Javid Ahmed said that injured cop was shifted to District Hospital Pulwama where from he was referred to SKIMS Srinagar. “The cop has received serious bullet injury,” he said.

Soon after the attack, Army personnel from 44 RR, SOG Shopian and CRPF cordoned off the area to flush out the militants, however, they managed to escape from the spot of incident. 

Militant outfit Hizbul Mujhadeen claimed the responsibility of the attack. Burhanuddin, the caller, who claimed to be the Operational Spokesperson of the outfit said that the fighters attacked government forces in South Kashmir’s Shopian district killing a trooper and injuring two others. “Deputy Commander Saifullah Khalid appreciated the efforts of  the militants and declared that attacks on Indian forces will be intensified in coming days,” he said. (CNS)

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