With militancy picking up in South Kashmir, 2 CRPF men shot dead on Highway
SRINAGAR: Close on the heels of the death of three Constables of Jammu and Kashmir Police in a militant attack and 15 civilians sustaining injuries in a grenade attack in Shopian, militants on Monday gunned down two personnel of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in South Kashmir.
Informed sources told STATE TIMES that Assistant Sub Inspector Omkar Singh and Constable Tilak Raj of CRPF 90th Battalion were on duty to guard Army and paramilitary convoys on Srinagar-Jammu highway against militant attacks at Halmulla, close to Sangham Bridge, when three to four militants attacked them with two AK-47 rifles from behind. Both the targeted personnel died on the spot. The militants snatched away from them one Insas Rifle and one AK-47 rifle and fled away. However, they dropped the longer gun Insas in a stream which was later recovered by Police.
Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman, Baleeguddin, according to a Srinagar based news agency, claimed responsibility of the attack on behalf of his organisation. He claimed that two CRPF men were killed and the militants escaped after snatching away their guns.
Deputy Inspector General of Police in South Kashmir Nitish Kumar, however, told STATE TIMES that it appeared to be an action by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. He said there was immediately no substantive clue or evidence but Police were investigating all possible theories. “We have observed that LeT has recruited some cadres but they are left with insufficient weapons. So, they have been attacking and killing Police or paramilitary men mainly to snatch away their rifles. LeT alone has done such attacks on Bijbehara-Pampore patch of the highway in the last two years. So, we suspect LeT”, DIG said.
Residents of Halmulla, Marhama and Panjpora maintained that they had no idea about the group behind Monday’s broad daylight attack on the CRPF Road Opening Party. However, most of them invariably suspected it to be the handiwork of LeT’s Irshad group, which was known to have carried out such actions on the highway from Nowgam Srinagar to Bijbehara in the last three years.
Highly placed sources in J&K Police revealed to STATE TIMES that Hizbul Mujahideen, LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammad had reorganised guerrilla groups in South Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian districts. “As many as 13 youths have joined militant groups in Pulwama district alone in the last four months. In entire South Kashmir, presently 85 militants are active and 65 of them are well identified and listed”, said a senior Police official.
Another officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police said that militancy could increase further in Pulwama-Shopian-Kulgam belt.
“We are under instructions from the new government that nobody should be arrested or detained under PSA. We cannot subject any suspect to custodial interrogation even if we have strong evidences and clues of someone’s involvement with militancy. But still we believe that the funeral processions of the dead militants are the biggest stimulant of the militant cadres’ revival and reorganisation. Youths, particularly the younger ones and unemployed, get excited with Pakistani flags and separatist slogans. Some of them later want to pick up the gun”, said the officer.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has strongly condemned the killing of two CRPF personnel. In his condolence message, Mufti Sayeed conveyed his sympathies to the bereaved families and prayed for peace to the departed souls.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh has strongly condemned the killings of 2 CRPF Jawans. In his message, the Deputy Chief Minister termed the incident as unfortunate and handiwork of the elements trying to disrupt peace in the State. He said that such types of acts are a desperate attempt of anti national forces, who are trying to create chaos and confusion in the state and asserted that they would be strictly dealt with.