2 Cops Shot Dead By Militants On Srinagar Airport Road

Wreath laying ceremony of slain cops was held at DPL Srinagar | KO photo: Abid Bhat

Lashkar Militants Involved In the Attack, Both Identified: IGP

Srinagar: Two policemen were shot dead by a militant in an audacious broad-day light attack in Barzulla area of this capital city on Friday, barely two days after a prominent eatery owner’s son was shot at and injured in high security zone Sonwar here.

Around 12:30 pm, an unidentified militant appeared in Baghat on the high security Airport road, took out assault rifle hidden under his cloak (pheran) and fired indiscriminately towards policemen who were at a tea stall, officials told Kashmir Observer. The two policemen collapsed near the shop in a pool of blood as the militant made a quick escape from the spot.

CCTV footage of the shootout that went viral on social networking websites showed people running helter skelter to save their lives.

The two policemen- constables Sohail Ahmad of Ashmuqam and Mohammad Yousuf of Kupwara were rushed to the hospital for treatment. However, they succumbed to their injuries, officials said.

Soon after the attack, a contingent of policemen and CRPF personnel laid a siege around the area and launched a cordon and search operation, witnesses said. During the searches, the joint forces frisked the passerby and checked their identity cards thoroughly.

The joint team also picked up a youth identified as Mudasir Ahmed for questioning. However, he was reportedly released later.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar along with DIG central Kashmir Amit Kumar Inspect the shootout site in Baghat | KO Photo: Abid Bhat

The killing of two policemen comes less than 48 hours after militants shot at and injured 22-year-old Akash Mehra, son of a prominent eatery owner in high security zone Sonwar area on Wednesday evening.

The attack on Mehra came at a time when a group of foreign envoys toured parts of Srinagar and Budgam districts on their first day of two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to take a first-hand account of the situation in newly-carved union territory. The attack also took place barely a kilometre from the residences of senior mainstream party leaders and protected persons, including former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah. Army’s Badami Bagh cantonment is also in the vicinity of Sonwar where the attack was carried out.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, including a local, were responsible for killing the two unarmed policemen in Baghat, Barzulla.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a wreath laying ceremony of two killed policemen at District Police Lines (DPL) here, Kumar said that both the policemen were on a routine duty and were at a shop to buy something when the militant came from behind and fired upon them.

He said that two Lashkar militants, a foreigner and a local whom he identified as Saqib were involved in the attack. The IGP vowed to track down the attackers soon.

“Had the policemen been armed, perhaps they would have retaliated. We will go for a security review and plug the loopholes,” the IGP said.

When asked if any arrests have been made after the attack, Kumar said that maybe someone was detained for routine questioning.

Parties Condemn Killings

Political leaders, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, condemned the killing of two unarmed policemen by a militant in an upmarket Srinagar area on Friday.

Abdullah, who is also the National Conference vice president, said the attack was "reprehensible" as the two policemen were unarmed and shot from behind.

"I condemn this act of militant violence & send my condolences to the families of these brave men," he tweeted.

"What makes this attack even more reprehensible is that SgCT Mohammad Yousuf of Zurhama and Ct Suhail Ahmad of Logripora were unarmed & shot in the back. Senseless & cowardly at the same time," he added.

PDP president Mehbooba condemned the attack saying the cycle of violence only begets misery.

"Condemn the killing of two policemen in the Baghat attack. My heart goes out to their families & loved ones. This cycle of violence serves no cause & begets only misery," she tweeted.

The People's Conference led by Sajad Lone also condemned the killing of the policemen.

"We strongly condemn the killing of two policemen in a dastardly and savage act of senseless violence at Baghat today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Suhail Ahmad and Mohd Yusuf in this hour of grief," the party said.

Local leaders of the BJP and the Congress also condemned the killings.

BJP leader Altaf Thakur termed the attack an act of cowardice. "There is no place for such cowardly acts and the attackers must be brought to book," he said.

The two constables were on duty at Baghat on the high-security airport road when they were attacked. The militant, identified as Saqib, can be seen pulling out an assault rifle hidden inside his pheran', a loose overgarment worn during winters, and pumping bullets at them at close range.

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