Srinagar, Aug. 11: Militants killed three policemen guarding a leader of a pro-India Kashmir party while a civilian died in crossfire after a Jammu army convoy was ambushed, the twin strikes coming hours after Manmohan Singhs peace call.
The attacks also ended a lull in militant violence during the past two months of street protests.
The first incident occurred last night outside the home of Democratic Nationalist Party leader Mohammad Abdullah Dar in north Kashmirs Sopore, the police said. The 9.30pm attack killed constable Farooq Ahmad Kuchay, special police officer Shabir Ahmad Lone and Dars personal security officer Abdul Majeed Ganie.
The raid on Dars home was preceded by an attack on a police station and a State Bank of India building but there was no loss of life or property. Militants fired about 50-60 rounds on the SBI building where a company of the CRPF was deployed. Later, they targeted the police station, a police spokesperson said.
Early today, a civilian bus was caught in a crossfire between the army and the militants in Jammus Rajouri. The police said the militants had ambushed a convoy of a Rashtriya Rifles (RR) commanding officer.
Rajouri police chief Ramesh Kumar Jalla said the army officer was on the way to Thanmandi from Poonch when he came under attack. The incident took place when the bus carrying passengers from Poonch was following the convoy. The woman, Kiran Bala, died and 14 others suffered injuries, two of them seriously, he said.
Jalla said the critically wounded had been airlifted to Jammu for treatment. The army and the police launched a cordon and search operation in the area to hunt down the militants, believed to have escaped into the nearby mountains.
Later in the day, 20kg of explosives, arms and ammunition were seized from a militant hideout in Jammus Reasi. The police claimed the cache was to be used to launch an attack on or before Independence Day this weekend.
Militant violence had subsided during the past two months of unrest in the Valley, with most of the security forces preoccupied with tackling street protests. Today, the authorities had a tough time foiling a march by Hurriyat hardliners.
Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani was placed under house arrest last night to prevent him from leading the march to Pampore.
Protests rocked Baramullas Kreeri after the body of a 19-year-old youth was fished out of a stream. Residents claimed the boy was arrested and killed in custody. The police denied the charge.