SRINAGAR: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll rally, the Kashmir Valley was on Friday rocked by four terror attacks by militants from across the border who stormed an Army camp in Uri leaving eight security personnel, including a Lt Colonel, dead and killed two civilians in Tral in Pulwama district.
Army spokesperson Lt Col N N Joshi said combing operations were underway in surrounding areas to flush out militants, who may still be hiding or attempting to escape.
“Six AK rifles, two shotguns, two night vision binoculars, four radio sets, 32 unused grenades, one medical kit and a large quantity of ammunition were recovered from the militants,” he said.
An Army official said they are investigating whether the militants were fresh infiltrators or had been staying in the area. “We are also probing from which side the militants breached the Army camp.”
The encounter took place three days ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to the Valley. Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Srinagar on Monday and will address an election rally in Sheri Kashmir Cricket Stadium, Srinagar. According to BJP leaders, over 50,000 people are expected to attend the event.
Meanwhile, an encounter erupted between militants and security forces in Soura area of Srinagar on Friday afternoon.
“A top commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba identified as Qari Asrar and his associate were killed in the encounter,” a police spokesperson said adding Qari was a wanted militant. He said Qari was involved in a number of incidents, including an attack on Hotel Silver Star on the outskirts of Srinagar in October 2012.
In the third incident of the day, militants lobbed a grenade on the Shopian Police Station in South Kashmir. The grenade explosion, however, did not cause any casualty or injuries.
In the fourth attack, militants threw a grenade at Bus Stand Tral in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district around 3.15 pm. The grenade exploded with a big bang, causing injuries to 22 people. Two of the injured succumbed while being shifted to the hospital. Some of the critically injured were rushed to Srinagar hospitals for treatment. The deceased were identified as 60-year-old Ghulam Hassan Gojri and 27-year-old Muhammad Shafi Gojar.
After the multiple attacks, security has been beefed up across the Valley especially in Srinagar, where the PM will be addressing an election rally on December 8. Checkpoints have been set up where security men are searching vehicles.