Home guard shot dead; constable’s condition critical
HYDERABAD: Unidentified gunmen fired shots at a police picket in old city killing a home guard and critically injuring another constable in Falaknuma, barely 200 yards from the police station, on the second anniversary of the bomb blast in Mecca Masjid, on Monday.
The injured constable, Rajendra Prasad, is being treated at Care Hospital in Banjara Hills, while the home guard Balaswamy (24) was declared dead on arrival at the Osmania General Hospital. The unarmed policemen were on a picket duty on the Falaknuma main road on account of the second anniversary of the Masjid blast which left nine dead and another five dead in the subsequent police firing to quell violent mobs.
Police said a pamphlet found on the spot believed to have been left by the assailants claimed that the attack was in retaliation to the death of five persons in police firing on the day of Mecca Masjid blast. The pamphlet also mentioned that more such attacks would be carried out.
Zonal DCP Atul Singh said two youngsters, both carrying short firearms, walked up to the policemen and opened fire from a close range, around 4 p.m. While constable Rajendra Prasad collapsed, Balaswamy ran to the nearby telephone booth apparently to call his higher-ups. But the assailants fired several shots at him and walked away quietly, even as passersby watched in horror.
Yadamma, who runs a roadside hotel near the spot, recalled that one of the attackers wore a mask while the other wore a helmet.
Other eye witnesses recalled that the assailants came on a Bajaj Chetak scooter and parked it a few metres away about 30 minutes before attacking the police picket. They were believed to have escaped on the scooter, as people scampered to safety.
Six bullet shells and two live rounds, all of 7.65 mm calibre, were found on the spot indicating the use of pistol. The clues team and the ballistics experts were called in to ascertain if all the bullets were fired from two weapons.
City police Commissioner B. Prasada Rao, who rushed to the spot, was confident that the attackers would be caught very soon.
Following the attack on police, a state of high alert was declared and police were checking vehicles and frisking operations were in full swing all over the State capital.
Sources said a general alert was sounded three days ago about a possible terror attack on Monday, but an attack on police was not suspected.
Officials suspect that LET activist Vikaruddin and his associates, who had earlier opened fire on counter intelligence team a few months ago at Santoshnagar, could be behind the latest attack.