At least two ultras and two policemen were killed on Sunday, when separatist militants made an unsuccessful bid on the life of a National Conference(NC)leader in Jammu and Kashmir. And the attack in South Kashmir was the first by the militants in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in the border state.
According to a senior police official, two militants attempted to barge into the house of NC leader Yawar Masudi near Khrew in Pulwama district.
“The police guards of the NC leader prevented the militants from barging into the house. They engaged the militants in a brief firefight, in which two policemen identified as Head Constable Abdul Hamid and Constable Vinod Kumar were grievously injured. The militants snatched an SLR from an injured policeman and fled the spot,” he said.
He said the badly injured policemen were rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared them brought dead. However, Masudi, who was holding a meeting with party activists, escaped unhurt, sources said. Masudi is a member of the Provisional Committee of NC youth wing and is son of J&K High Court Judge Justice Hasnain Masoodi. Immediately after the militant strike, police, paramilitary and Army laid siege to the area in a bid to flush out the militants. “The security men zeroed-in on the militants near Gotpora, Khrew, about one km from the place where militants had carried out attack,” the police official said.
He said the militants had fired on the security men and in the ensuing gunfight, two of the ultras were killed.
“Two AK 47 rifles and the snatched SLR was recovered from the encounter site,” the official said, adding the identity of the deceased militants was being ascertained.
The Al-Shohada Brigade militant outfit, which is an off-shoot of the Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen (HM),has owned up responsibility for the attack.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed the attack a “heinous attempt by the militants on the life of innocents”. “The attack on Yawar’s residence is evidence of the continued risk associated with being a mainstream politician in Kashmir. You may not like our politics sometimes but don’t question our commitment because we put our lives on the line every day for our beliefs,” he said.
Khrew in Pulwama district is part of Anantnag-Pulwama Lok Sabha constituency, which will go to polls on April 24. Meanwhile, another encounter broke out in Ahmed Nagar area on the city outskirts on Sunday.