Srinagar: Two policemen were killed and another injured on Friday in an audacious militant attack in Nowgam area on the city outskirts on the eve of I-day, police said.
Early Friday morning, unidentified militants appeared in Nowgam area of the city outskirts and opened fire upon a group of policemen who were deployed in the area as part of the August-15 security bandobast, a police official said. In the surprise militant attack, three policemen were injured.
The injured cops were shifted to a hospital where two of them succumbed and the third was undergoing treatment, the official said.
The official identified the slain duo as Ishfaq Ayoub and Fayaz Ahmad, both from IRP’s 20 batallion. While Ayoub had bullet wounds on right side of chest and leg, Fayaz had injuries on right thigh, he said.
The injured cop has been identified as Mohammad Ashraf and has bullet injuries on right hand.
Soon after the attack, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar and SSP Srinagar Haseeb Mughal rushed to the spot to take first-hand account of the situation.
The state forces also launched a combing operation in the area with an aim to nab the assailants.
Talking to the reporters at the shootout spot, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that two Jaish-e-Muhammad militants appeared from a narrow lane and fired indiscriminately at the cops deployed in the area in view of August 15.
“The cops were wearing bullet proof vests and helmets. The militants came from behind and fired indiscriminately at our boys. In the attack, two policemen were killed and another injured,” Kumar said.
“We have identified these militants from Jaish-e-Muhammad. They will be neutralized soon,” he added.
Kumar further said that the police had inputs about a militant strike in in any area ahead of August 15 celebrations and on the same basis security was beefed up.
“Our boys exercised maximum restraint and didn’t retaliate to militant fire due to the movement of people in the lane,” Kumar said, while denying any loophole that could have prevented the attack.
“Not just August 15 or January 26, every day is a challenge for police in Kashmir,” he added.
Meanwhile, several mainstream parties condemned the killing of two policemen, saying violence in any form is unacceptable and inhuman.
Expressing deep anguish and sorrow over the killings, the National Conference (NC) said violence does not provide a solution to any problem.
Violence in all its forms is despicable and has no scope in the contemporary world. It only leaves behind the account of inevitable loss and prolonged grief, an NC spokesperson said.
He said the party expresses solidarity with the kith and kin of the slain policemen and prays for eternal repose to the deceased.
Condemning the killing of the two policemen, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the violence of the past more than three decades has taken a heavy toll on the people in terms of death and destruction, tearing apart of the social fabric and inflicting massive losses.
In a statement, the party said such attacks further aggravate the situation for the people of Kashmir.
The party also posted a tweet saying, Vehemently condemn the attack on @JmuKmrPolice personnel. Such attacks further aggravate the situation for Kashmiri's already reeling under double disaster post August 5. We join the families of deceased in mourning their loss."
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) described the attack as senseless and shameful, and demanded exemplary punishment to the killers.
In a statement, a party spokesperson said, Kashmir continues to bleed due to the mindless militant attacks, which is very unfortunate and matter of serious concern.
Former minister Sajad Lone-led Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) also condemned the attack
We strongly condemn the killing of two policemen in a dastardly and inhuman acts of violence at Nowgam today. Our sympathies and prayers are with the families of the deceased in this hour of grief, the party said on its official Twitter page.
The Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) said, Violence is not a solution but a gigantic impediment that spreads hatred. In any of its manifestations, violent extremism is unacceptable in a civilized society, regardless of political, ideological or religious motivations, a JKAP spokesman said.
He said it is highly unfortunate and heart-rending that Kashmir continues to lose precious lives to senseless violence which has only aggravated the sufferings of the people over the years.
The attackers have no respect for human lives and are only adding to the tragedies of the ill-fated families which must be condemned by one and all, he said, extending condolences to the bereaved families and wishing a speedy recovery for the injured personnel.
Expressing solidarity and sympathy with the bereaved families, the Jammu and Kashmir BJP said the police must track down the perpetrators and punish them sternly.
DGP Blames Pakistan
Pakistan and its proxies cannot tolerate the peaceful atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said on Friday after militants shot dead two policemen and wounded another on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Singh, however, asserted that the efforts to strengthen peace in the union territory would continue.
The DGP was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a wreath-laying ceremony of the two police personnel killed when militants fired indiscriminately upon a police party in Nowgam area here earlier in the day.
We have placed extended deployments at many places in the city and outside it for the August 15 (I- Day) function. We were also increasing the deployment on the outskirts (of the city). It is unfortunate that a deployment team was attacked on the outskirts of the city in Nowgam and two jawans were killed and another injured, Singh told reporters.
The DGP said Pakistan and its proxies cannot tolerate the peaceful atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir and often create hurdles in the path towards peace.
We are all aware of the situation in Kashmir where the militants regularly try to target civilians, police and forces and sometimes they succeed, but at the same time, the police and forces keep on taking actions to improve the situation, he said.
We will intensify the (anti-militancy) operations in the coming days, but such incidents take place because Pakistan and its proxies cannot tolerate the peaceful atmosphere here. Such conspiracies are hatched from across the border and they try to create hurdles in the way to peace. However, I am confident that our efforts to strengthen peace will continue, he added.
Singh said the state forces are focused on strengthening security in the valley for the I-Day function on Saturday.
Talking about the arrangements, he said, We will use drones and camera-fitted vehicles to monitor the situation. We are trying to improve the use of gadgetry and in the coming days, CCTV coverage in the city and other places will be increased. The other things like physical deployment and surveillance are being employed, he said.
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