Two policemen were killed and 14 others injured, some of them critically, after militants attacked a police bus Monday in a highly fortified neighbourhood of Srinagar. Police said the attack was carried out by an offshoot of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
It was the first major attack on security forces in the Valley since the abrogation of J&K’s special status in August 2019 and the Lethpora (Pulwama) car bombing that killed 40 CRPF personnel in February that year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought details on the attack. In a Twitter post, the Prime Minister’s Office said: “He has also expressed condolences to the families of those security personnel who have been martyred in the attack.”
National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter: “Terrible news of a terror attack on a police bus on the outskirts of Srinagar. I unequivocally condemn this attack while at the same time send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers for the injured.”
PDP leader and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Terribly sad to hear about the Srinagar attack in which two policemen were killed. GoI’s false narrative of normalcy in Kashmir stands exposed yet there has been no course correction. My condolences to the bereaved families.”
Police said militants fired indiscriminately on a police bus of the 9th Battalion of J-K Police’s armed wing at Zewan on the outskirts of Srinagar city. It left 16 police personnel injured. They were immediately shifted to the Army’s 92 Base Hospital at Badamibagh where two policemen died.
Police sources said one of the dead was an Assistant Sub Inspector and the other a Constable. Three militants, sources said, carried out the attack. They came on a scooty, fired indiscriminately on the police bus and escaped.
In a statement, police said: “Preliminary investigation has revealed that three terrorists had fired indiscriminately upon a police vehicle carrying police personnel near Zewan… police party was coming back to their campus after finishing their duties. Although the fire was retaliated, taking advantage of darkness, the terrorists managed to escape from the spot.”
Police said that one of the militants was injured in retaliatory fire. “Credible sources revealed that the attack was carried out by Kashmir Tigers, an offshoot of JeM,” police said.
Zewan houses J-K Police’s armed wing complex, home to several armed police battalions. It also houses the sector headquarter of CRPF and station headquarter of ITBP.
Militants have stepped up attacks on police personnel this year. According to official figures, 19 policemen have been killed, including two on Monday, in militant attacks in the Valley this year.
Two days ago, militants killed two policemen in Bandipore. Police said they have identified the militants.