Kashmir: Militants Escape Amid Firing

17 August 2014
Kashmir Dispatch

Srinagar: Suspected militants fired at Jammu and Kashmir policemen who were manning a check post in Pulwom district Sunday evening, however no one was hurt in the firing, a source told Kashmir Dispatch. He said a group of militants who were in a private car fired upon policemen in Achan area of the district where six people including five government forces men have been killed in attacks by rebels in the past seven days. The militants were chased and they left the car behind, but the police arrested a motorcyclist who was acting as a guide to the militants, the source said. 'He is being questioned and police are investigating the attack,' hes said. A top police in the district said 'they had input about the movement of the militants and as they tried to narrow in a group of two to three ultras fired on them but abandoned the car'. However, other police sources said that panic gripped Pulwom district when a suspicious movement of a mini-passenger vehicle sparked off a chase late Sunday evening. They said private car was asked to stop at a check point but the driver took a turn and fled from the spot. The policemen at the check point fired in the air and chased the car which created panic in the area, they added. The sources claimed that the chase ended in Haffshermal area of neighbouring Shupian district and 100 bottles of Codeine were recovered from the driver who along with an associate was arrested. In a series of attacks launched by militants this week in Pulwom district, six people including five government forces men and a civilian have been killed while 13 forces' men have sustained injuries . There have been five militant attacks in six days in various parts of the district which have put security agencies on heightened alert. The first attack took place on the evening of August 11 in volatile Tral town of the district where a suspected Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant, who was friend of a policeman, decamped with his rifle, and escaped. The incident took place at family quarters of the Special Operation Group personal. The posters attributed to Hizb appeared in Tral town wherein the outfit had claimed responsibility of the incident. Later in the evening at around 09:45 pm on August 11, militants ambushed a convoy of Border Security Force (BSF) at Kadlabal in Pamper leaving nine troopers injured. Sources had said that a group of 4 to 5 militants in an army uniform had carried out the attack. The responsibility of the attack was also claimed by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Hizb had reportedly said that the attack was in reaction to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Ladakh. On the evening of August 12, militants killed a railway policeman at Malangpora in the district and had also snatched his rifle. The attack was also claimed by Hizb. In a deadly attack on August 13 evening which took place at Galandar in Pampar, three people including two policemen and a civilian were killed. A team headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police of Indian Reserve Police (IRP) was coming from Kargil, where it was deputed on the occasion of Modi's visit, was fired upon by militants. During the exchange of fire, two policemen sustained critical injuries while a civilian was also killed. The two injured cops later succumbed in hospital. The militants managed to escape along with a carbine rifle of police. The attack was claimed by Hizb while police and the militant outfit blamed each other for civilian's death. On Saturday militants intercepted a BSF Gypsy and opened heavy fire on it in Koil area of Pulwama that killed two BSF men while four others were injured. Security sources had said that all these attacks were 'sudden' due to which forces couldn't retaliate 'effectively'. 'As a result of this, militants managed to escape unhurt,' they had said. The back-to-back attack took place even though government forces intensified searches and frisking in the district. 'This week, the forces conducted various search operations in Pamper, Galandar, Kadlabal areas while forces also cordoned Tral once. The forces routinely conduct searches in the outskirts of Pulwom town,' sources said. 'The increase in attacks is because new militant groups in the district have gone active,' a senior counter-insurgency officer, who wished not to be named, had said. On being asked, he said: 'These attacks are jointly carried out by foreign and local militants,' adding, it seems Lashkar-e-Toiba is behind today's attack on BSF. 'Hizb isn't so strong in this part of the district.' The Superintendent of Police Pulwama, Tajinder Singh, said that militants want to increase their activities in the district by carrying out series of attacks. 'We have tightened security,' he had said. In past two years, Pulwom district has emerged as a hot bed of militants in the Kashmir region with militants shifting their base from north to south Kashmir.