The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bodyguard, cops taken hostage

Srinagar, Sept. 23: Militants hiding in a house took two police officers and a bodyguard hostage this evening at Gogji Bagh in uptown Srinagar hours before the second phase of polling.

A police party led by superintendent of police Mukesh Singh and other officers were sanitising the area when militants hiding in a house opened fire.

Sources said the police party immediately rushed to the house to conduct a search. Singh was accompanied by the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) and the area station house officer (SHO).

“The raiding party got the information that militants were hiding in the house,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity.

The militants attacked the police with grenades and assault rifles as they entered the house. The superintendent’s bodyguard, Jagdev Singh, died on the spot, while two others were injured.

A wireless operator of the SDPO, who was trapped inside, was seriously wounded when he jumped from the third floor of the house. He was immediately rushed to a hospital, where his condition was stated to be critical.

SDPO Mohammad Youssuf Band, SHO J.B. Singh and three policemen were inside the hideout as intense firing continued in the area, police sources said.

“They went inside the house where the militants were hiding and we are trying to reach them,” said the officer.

Sources said the two officers and their bodyguards might have been taken hostage by the militants. “We have no contact with them. The house has been cordoned off by the paramilitary Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force,” the officer added. No movement is being allowed in the area and power supply has been cut off.

Police said the area was under a tight cordon.

Elsewhere, security forces have fanned out in Srinagar and Budgam districts to maintain law and order on election day tomorrow, when the two districts in the Valley and Jammu go to polls.

Srinagar was tense this evening following a series of blasts in the city today. Shops closed early and traffic deserted the streets. Paramilitary troops are patrolling the city areas. “We have made adequate security arrangements for holding peaceful polls tomorrow,” said the chief electoral officer Pramod Jain.

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