2 Cops, 2 Civilians Killed In Sopore Shootout

An injured civilian being taken for treatment to hospital | KO Photo By Abid Bhat

Police Officer Among 3 More Injured In Exchange Of Fire

Ajaz Ali

Srinagar: In an audacious broad daylight attack, Lashkar-e-Taiba militants opened fire upon a police team in Sopore town of Baramulla district leaving two cops and as many civilians dead and three others, including an officer injured, police said Saturday.

Around 11:45 am today, unidentified militants appeared in busy Arampora area of Sopore town and opened fire upon a police team that was deployed for corona lockdown duties, a police spokesperson said. In the surprise militant attack, he said, four policemen and four civilians were injured.

All the injured, he said, were removed to the nearby hospital for treatment. However, two cops and two civilians breathed their last before the doctors could operate upon them.

The police identified the killed cops as Constables Showkat Ahmad of Beerwah Budgam and Waseem Ahmad of Narbal in the Srinagar outskirts. The two slain civilians have been identified as Manzoor Ahmad Shalla of Shalimar Colony and Bashir Ahmad of Mahrajpora in Sopore.

The injured were identified as sub inspector (SI) Mukesh Kumar, special police officer (SPO) Danish Ahmad, and civilian Nayeem Ahmad Khan of Mahrajpora.

According to the reports, the police officer and the civilian have been referred to Srinagar hospital for advanced treatment.

According to reports, Khan has multiple gunshot injuries and his condition continues to remain life threatening at the SMHS hospital here.

Soon after the attack, army, CRPF and police reinforcements rushed to the area and launched a major cordon and search operation (CASO) to nab the attackers. Senior police officers also reached the spot to take stock of the situation and to oversee search operation.

According to witnesses, the joint team closed all the entry and exit points around Arampora and conducted searches. The search operation, according to witnesses continued for several hours however no arrests were made.

“The street vendors were arranging their products while skeletal transport was plying on the roads when sudden bursts of gunfire rattled the area,” Mohammad Shafi, an eyewitness told Kashmir Observer.

He said that the frightening sounds of gunfire continued for nearly five minutes forcing the vendors to abandon their carts and move towards the safer places.

“The passerby also ran for their lives. There was complete chaos,” he said.

Meanwhile, the police spokesperson said that a case has been registered in this regard under relevant sections of law.

“Police are vigorously investigating all the circumstances of this crime,” he said.

Lashkar Behind Attack: DGP

Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh meanwhile has said the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was behind the Sopore attack.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a wreath-laying ceremony for the two slain police constables, Singh asserted that the perpetrators had been identified and would be brought to justice very soon.

He said it was a Sopore police station team on COVID-19 duty that came under attack.

Even as they mounted a retaliation, four police personnel and three civilians were injured, the DGP said.

Constables Waseem and Showkat succumbed to injuries later, while Sub-Inspector Mukesh Kumar and SPO Danish are undergoing treatment, and their condition is stated to be stable, he said.

Two of the three civilians injured in the attack died too, the police chief said.

He said initial indicators have led to the identification of the outfit, and a follow-up on that is on.

The forces have launched an operation in the area, and we are hopeful that we will soon bring to justice the perpetrators of the crime... As per our information, LeT is involved in it, and we have almost identified the militants in the attack, but we will not share their details yet," the DGP said.

He said police and other security force personnel work in dangerous circumstances and sometimes such attacks take place.

"Unfortunately, our responsibilities are such that we have to work in danger and sometimes, such incidents take place. But, our endeavour is to bring to justice all those involved in such attacks," the police chief said.

Asked if militancy has increased in recent days, Singh said police and other forces have good control on all areas of the Valley.

If you see in relative terms, then the militancy is not increasing, but decreasing. The police and other forces have good control on all areas, and operations are also being carried out.

However, due to COVID-19, there has been a decline in anti-militancy operations, but the forces have maintained pressure and we are launching operations so as to strengthen peace and development, Singh added.

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