M A I N   N E W S

Ahead of PM’s J-K visit, Hizb men kill 2 cops
Majid Jahangir
Tribune news service

Srinagar, June 22
Days ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s June 25 visit to the state, Hizbul Mujahideen militants struck in the heart of the city shooting two policemen dead from point blank range.

The attack took place near one of the two bridges that connect the city’s commercial hub and is less than 1 km from the heavily-fortified government headquarters. Pistol-borne militants, believed to be two in number, shot the policemen from point blank range near Amira Kadal Bridge around 2 pm, officials said.

“The policemen and a woman pedestrian were injured in the shootout. The three were rushed to hospital where the policemen were declared dead,” Kashmir Inspector General of Police Abdul Ghani Mir said. “The militants fired from point blank range and took advantage of the heavy rush to escape from the spot,” another police officer said.

The slain policemen have been identified as head constable Mohammad Maqbool Mir and constable Nazir Ahmad Hajam. Both were residents of south Kashmir and were posted at Shaheed Gunj police station.

The girl, identified as Ishrat of Ganderbal, is being treated at the City Hospital where her condition is stated to be stable.

Hizbul Mujahideen’s Muzzaffarabad-based spokesperson Baleeg-ud-Din called up a local news agency in Srinagar and claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack comes days ahead of the Prime Minister’s scheduled two-day Kashmir visit from June 25 during which he will inaugurate the railway section between Banihal and Qazigund. Security around major towns has been beefed up in recent days and the police have intensified random checking of pedestrians and vehicles in the city.

Soon after the attack, panic gripped the entire area as shopkeepers and pedestrians fled. The police also fired a shot in the air to disperse a crowd that had assembled in an adjoining lane.

The IGP, however, said initial investigation revealed that militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were responsible for the attack. "The attack in Srinagar is not related to the PM's visit. It is not the first such kind of incident has happened. Such incidents have been taking place in Srinagar in the past. We have solved all such cases in past and we will also this one," Mir said.

This is the first major attack in Srinagar since March. On March 21, a BSF man was killed and two others injured in a militant ambush near Nowgam on the Srinagar- Jammu bypass highway. On March 13, in the first suicide attack after nearly three years in the Valley, five CRPF personnel and two militants were killed in Bemina.





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