Six policemen, including a Station House Officer of the Achabal police station, were killed when militants ambushed their vehicle at Thajiwara Achabal in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Friday evening. Officials said that around 6:30 pm, Station House Officer, Achabal, Sub Inspector Firoz Ahmad Dar and five constables were in a Tata Sumo vehicle travelling towards Anantnag town when a group of at least five militants ambushed their vehicle and fired at the police party.
In the attack, all the policemen were killed. Soon Army and police cordoned off the area but the militants escaped. The attack took place 17 km from the spot in Arwani where an encounter between militants and security forces was in progress and barely 5 km from the Army’s Khandru camp, one of the most fortified installations in south Kashmir.
Officials said that the militants took away rifles from the slain policemen. Before fleeing, the militants are believed to have disfigured the bodies of the cops by firing on them from close range.
J&K Director General of Police S P Vaid told The Indian Express that militants ambushed the vehicle of SHO Achabal at Thajiwara. “They fired at the policemen from very close range and later escaped with five AK-47 rifles,’’ Vaid said, adding that the militants were the local Lashkar-e-Toiba module operating in the area.
The slain policemen have been identified as Feroz Ahmed Dar of Dogripora, Pulwama; constable Shariq Ahmed; constable Tasveer Ahmed (both from Budgam); constable Sharaz Ahmed (Achabal); Mohammed Asif and Sabzar Ahmed of Anantnag. Dar had been posted in Achabal four months ago.
Meanwhile, the Lashkar-e-Toiba spokesman called a local news agency in Srinagar and accepted responsibility for this attack. Police said it seems they wanted to take revenge of the Arwani encounter in which their local commander Junaid Mattoo is believed to have died. J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed “deep anguish” over the killing of civilians and policemen across the Valley over the past 24 hours. She said that violence and the killing of innocent would only push the state towards destruction and uncertainty rather than peace.
“Terrible news about SHO Achabal & his colleagues, all brave JK Police personnel. May their souls rest in peace,’’ former J&K CM Omar Abdullah tweeted. “That they were killed is bad enough, that they were disfigured is dastardly, cowardly & to my recollection unprecedented in recent years.’’
On May 28, in a similar attack on the cash van of J&K bank, militants killed five policemen and two private security guards in neighbouring Kulgam’s Pumai village.