| Doctors treat a woman injured in Chajroo. (AFP)
Jammu/Srinagar, Aug. 13: Suspected Hizb-ul Mujahideen militants gunned down five persons and wounded nine in a village in Udhampur district last night, sending a chilling warning before Independence Day.
Around 9.45 pm, the militants descended on the remote and hilly Chajroo village in the Mahore area and opened fire on its defence committee members and their families who were dining in the open.
The assault left five dead and nine injured. Two of the dead were members of the village defence committee (VDC).
Other members of the committee then picked up their weapons and battled the rebels who ran away. “The VDC members fought valiantly till 4 this morning. Their challenge made the militants flee,” inspector-general of police, Jammu zone, S.P. Vaid said.
The police have set up VDCs in several villages for security at the grassroots level. Members of the committees are given weapons and training to protect their villages from possible militant attacks.
Police teams have been rushed to the spot to trace the militants, Vaid said.
Three seriously wounded villagers had to be airlifted to Jammu for treatment.
Although no group has claimed responsibility, Vaid said he suspected the assailants are “Hizb-ul Mujahideen militants”. This is the group most active in the area, he added.
In Doda district, militants shot dead a tailor and his nephew last night. They had attempted to kidnap the tailor, Mohammad Ashraf, in Punsara village.
When his family members offered resistance, they killed Ashraf and his nephew Pervez Ahmed.