Four policemen including two Special Police Officials (SPO) were killed in a suspected militant ambush in Hygam area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district Friday evening.
In a seemingly well-planned attack, the assailants, according to police sources, laid a trap for the cops by calling them over phone and informing them about presence of burglars in the area. As the cops reached the spot, the gunmen present in the area started indiscriminate firing on them killing all the four cops on the spot and decamping with three service weapons.
This is first major militant strike after Fidayeen attack at Bemina in Srinagar in which seven Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and two militants were killed. Today’s incident at Hygam took place after police said that they have arrested, Fehdullah, Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) military chief for north Kashmir. The Police had termed his arrest a major setback to militancy in north Kashmir.
The attack took place at 5 PM after the officials of police post Putkhah received a telephone call from Hygam village that thieves are on prowl in the area. Soon after receiving the call, a police party comprising four cops went to the village in a bullet proof Rakshak vehicle.
“Once the cops left the police post, they were in touch with the caller,” sources said adding that the caller asked them to reach Parray Mohalla Hygam, near Iqra Public School. They said that once the cops disembarked from the vehicle, indiscriminate fire was opened on them by a group of gunmen. “All the four cops died on the spot without being given a chance to retaliate,” they said.
Sources said the firing continued for less than 10 minutes and prior to the attack, the gunmen had restricted the civilian movement in the area. They said the attackers around half a dozen in number were wearing Pherans (Kashmiri robes).
The slain constables were identified as Head Constable Abdul Rahim, Constable Mudasir Ahmad, SPO Gulshan Ahmad and SPO Mudasir Ahmad Parry. The attackers also decamped with two AK-47 and one SLR rifle.
Sources said, immediately after the incident locals called the police post Putkhah and informed them about the incident.
Panic gripped entire Hygam area as the Army and Special Operations Group laid a cordon and launched a massive manhunt for the attackers. Senior police officers including Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, A G Mir, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) north Kashmir, JP Singh and some senior Army officers also visited the spot.
IGP Kashmir told Greater Kashmir over phone from the spot that the attackers were four to five in number. “Our four men have been killed by the militants,” IGP said adding that police party had gone to the area after they got a phone call from militants about the movement of thieves there. “They attackers have also taken the weapons of our boys,” he said and added that investigations have been started.
Pertinently, on March 13 this year in a Fidayeen attack in Bemina area of Srinagar five Central Reserve Police Force personnel and while militants were killed. Six other CRPF personnel and four civilians were injured in the attack.
OMAR, MEHBOOBA CONDEMN KILLINGS
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has condemned the killing of police personnel, describing it an “act of cowardice.”
In a statement, Chief Minister has expressed solidarity with the families of the deceased cops and the police force. He said the cops sacrificed their lives for the protection and safety of the people and exhibited highest degree of bravery.
Meanwhile, strongly condemning the attack on the police party, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has said “such dastardly attacks don’t achieve any thing except resulting in bloodshed and devastating Kashmiri families.”
In a statement, Mehbooba said PDP always opposes use of violent methods for any political purpose. She said it seems the government is losing control over the situation and nobody including the police seems safe. She conveyed her condolence and solidarity to families of the slain police officials.