Srinagar, Nov. 22: A suicide squad in police uniform fought its way into a security camp in the heart of Srinagar today and killed six CRPF jawans, dealing a blow to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s healing-touch policy.
Two assailants died in the exchange of fire that followed the most daring militant attack since the new government took power.
Officials said security forces are looking for a third militant who opened fire from outside the hotel in Regal Chowk where the camp is located. The building now houses only security forces.
Police sources said a constable, Krishan Bhadur, caught hold of a militant who entered through the main gate. The militant, finding himself trapped, detonated a grenade, blowing up himself and the jawan.
While the attention veered towards the main gate, another militant came from the rear and sneaked into the kitchen. He opened fire and lobbed grenades on personnel having breakfast, police said. One jawan was killed immediately while others died in hospital.
Soldiers gunned down the militant with the assistance of BSF personnel, who rushed to the camp after hearing the gunshots, police added.
“The idea was to inflict maximum damage, it was a suicide attack,” said H.K. Sareen, inspector general of the CRPF.
Agency reports said two persons identifying themselves as spokesmen of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Karvan-e-Azeemat, a hitherto unknown militant group, called a local news agency claiming responsibility for the attack.
“Two of our mujahideen achieved martyrdom and two managed to escape unhurt after killing 11 to 16 security personnel,” Abu Hafiza, a Lashkar spokesman, was quoted by Current News Services as saying.
Police today picked up six persons — all residents of houseboats — and detained them for questioning, the reports added.
The attack came at a time when the Ram Jethmalani-led Kashmir Committee is due to arrive in Srinagar to hold peace talks with separatist leaders, including the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
“The firing was so intense that I and my family rushed to the ground floor. We had just finished our meal,” said a journalist living in Regal Chowk.
The incident triggered panic in Regal Chowk where security has been beefed up.
The deputy inspector general of police, Kashmir range, Farooq Ahmad, visited the spot along with other senior police officers. He has ordered searches in the area.
The injured soldiers are in SMHS hospital. Police said the condition of three is serious.
In a separate incident, militants opened fire on a BSF jawan near Naz cinema this afternoon. The jawan was seriously injured and was rushed to hospital.