JAMMU: Suspected terrorists killed an on-duty Special Police Officer (SPOs) and critically injured his colleague in a remote village in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday before fleeing with their service rifles, police said.
The SPOs were attacked with axes on their patrol duty in the high-altitude Tander village of Dachhan around 1.30 pm, a senior police officer said.
He said while SPO Basit Iqbal succumbed to injuries, SPO Vishal Singh is battling for his life and his condition is stated to be critical.
The injured SPO has been airlifted to Jammu for specialized treatment.
Two of the attackers were identified as Ashiq Hussain, a rape accused who was released on bail from central jail Kishtwar about 20 days ago, and Basharat Hussain.
Both local residents, the official said, adding they are believed to have joined the terrorist ranks and carried out the attack to lay their hands on the weapons.
He said whether they were assisted by any active terrorist in carrying out the attack is being investigated.
The Army and the police have launched a massive joint search to track down the attackers and recover the stolen weapons, the official said.
He said Inspector General of Police, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh and DIG, Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban rage, Abdul Jabbar have rushed to Kishtwar to supervise the operation.
This was the first terror attack in Kishtwar district this year.
Kishtwar has been rocked by a series of terrorist attacks since November 2018, when it saw its first terror attack in over a decade.
On September 28 last year, security forces achieved a major breakthrough against terrorists active in Kishtwar when they killed three ultras including most wanted Osama Bin Javed in an encounter in Ramban while they were fleeing an offensive which saw dozens of Hizbul Mujahideen members and overground workers arrested and several of their hideouts busted.
Senior BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar were killed outside their house in Kishtwar town on November 1, 2018 in an attack, followed by the killing of RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his SO inside district hospital on April 9, 2019.
The ultras also struck on two more occasions last year and decamped with service rifles of two policemen.