A policeman and a civilian were killed in a suspected militant attack in Tujjar Sharief hamlet of north Kashmir’s Sopore area on Tuesday, police said.
The gunmen also snatched the service rifle of the slain cop, police added.
A police official said militants, believed to be two, fired at a cop, later identified as Fayaz Ahmed Bhat son of Abdul Khaliq of Wadoora village of Sopore, when he was on duty guarding the shrine of Hazrat Sultan-ul-Arifeen (RA) at TujjarSharief, Sopore. “The militants fired at the cop, leaving him seriously injured. A civilian, who was also present in the premises of the shrine—identified as Abdur Rahim Lone of TujjarSharief—also sustained bullet injury and later died,” they said.
Lone, according to police, was physically handicapped.
Police sources said Bhat (with belt number 434 of 13th Indian Reserve Police Force) was rushed to Sub-District Hospital Sopore instantly after the attack, but doctors there declared him as brought dead.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sopore, Abdul Qayoom, said the militants fired only one bullet which hit both Bhat and Lone. “The militants also decamped with service (INSAS) rifle of the slain cop,” he said.
“We have cordoned the area and a massive search has been launched to nab the attackers,” the SSP said.
According to SSP Qayoom, the attack took place after a lull of more than a month. “We witnessed a peaceful July in Sopore,” he said. “Before July, the entire Sopore had turned into a ghost town after a series of attacks on mobile towers followed by six civilian killings. Besides, we also witnessed a grenade explosion in a police vehicle in which a cop and Pakistani militant got killed.”
A police official posted in Sopore said “it’s a routine for militants to show their presence.”
“We are investigating whether the militants were already hiding in the area or had travelled to strike,” he said. “Snatching of a rifle indicates that militants are short of arms and ammunition.”
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed condemned the killing of a policeman and a civilian in a militant attack in Sopore, an official spokesman said.
In his message, Mufti said those “responsible for such dastardly acts have no respect for human lives.” The Chief Minister expressed solidarity with the bereaved families and prayed to Almighty Allah to give them courage to bear the loss of their dear ones, the spokesman added.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President and Member Parliament, Mehbooba Mufti strongly condemned the killing of a policeman and a civilian in Sopore militant attack.
“Violence in any form is unacceptable, and there is no place for innocent killings in a civilized society.
No religion allows such dastardly acts of violence which lead to spilling of innocent blood and bring enormous tragedies to the families of the victims,” she said in a statement.