EVEN AS the death toll from Monday’s firing by militants on a police bus in Srinagar rose to three with another personnel succumbing to injuries, investigations have revealed that the attack was planned and carried out after a recce was conducted in the area, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, IGP Kumar said three militants, including two foreign nationals and a local resident affiliated to terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), were involved in the attack.
“This was a planned attack. It seems that the militants had done a recce beforehand. They targeted the police vehicle 300 metres from the camp. At the time of the attack, the ROP (Road Opening Party) had been withdrawn and it had grown dark,” Kumar said.
The militants escaped after firing indiscriminately at the bus but Kumar said one of them was injured in retaliatory fire from the police. “We have got some inputs (about the attackers). We are developing them further, we are tracking them. They had escaped to Khrew, then to Pampore and Tral (in south Kashmir),” he said.
Meanwhile, the two police personnel killed Monday have been identified as Assistant Sub Inspector Ghulam Hassan, who was a resident of Top Neel Bharthand in Ramban, and Constable Shafeeq Ali, who hailed from Mahore in Reasi. Their bodies were flown to the two villages in the Jammu region.
On Tuesday, Constable Rameez Ahmad succumbed to injuries at the Army’s 92 Base hospital in Srinagar. Ahmad, a resident of Yachama in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal, was among the 14 injured in the attack. He was laid to rest at his village with hundreds of mourners joining the funeral.
The attack in the high-security zone of Zewan, which is considered as one of the most secure areas of Srinagar city, has sent alarm bells ringing in the security establishment. Zewan houses the Armed Police Complex, the sector headquarters of CRPF and the station headquarters of ITBP.
Police sources told The Indian Express that the concern is mainly because militants have intensified their attacks in the city.
“The attack is a matter of serious concern for us. It seems that over the last few months, militants are trying to shift the centrestage of militancy from south Kashmir to Srinagar. The attack has also highlighted loopholes in the security grid and there is an immediate need to plug them. But it is not an easy task,” said a senior police officer.
IGP Kumar said J&K police have decided to provide bullet proof vehicles to its personnel and install lights along the roads they travel.
Monday’s firing was the first major attack on security forces in the Valley since the Pulwama car bombing that killed 40 CRPF personnel in February 2019 and the abrogation of J&K’s special status in August 2019.
On Tuesday, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh visited the Armed Police Complex and the 92 Base hospital. At the hospital, he was accompanied by GoC 15 Corps Lt Gen D P Pandey.