Two policemen were shot dead by suspected militants in the south Kashmir district headquarters of Pulwama, even as a relative of a top Hizbul Mujahideen militant was captured after he stabbed a Special Police Officer (SPO) on Monday.
Official sources said SPO Farooq Mir of Vedpora Pulwama dropped a group of detainees at the District & Session Court and drove back to the District Police Lines for bringing them food. No sooner did he return and park his vehicle than two unidentified persons appeared and opened fire with AK-47 rifles, first on the driver Mir and then on Mukhtar Wani of Syed Wari, Qazigund, who was assembling the food containers.
Eyewitnesses said a group of residents threw stones at a police party when the injured were being shifted to the District Hospital. The police fired in the air and teargas shells to break up the crowd.
Deputy Inspector-General Vijay Kumar said the assailants were identified as Bilal Bhat and Showkat Lone of Lelhaar village. “They are among the most wanted militants of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Bilal is also wanted in the assassination of cardiologist Sheikh Jalal in his hometown of Pampore last July,” he told The Hindu . “There was just one armed constable with the vehicle. He was inside the court with the detainees. The slain policemen had no weapons.”
SPO Bupinder Singh was stabbed in the neck with a butcher’s knife from behind at Pampore. The assailant snatched his AK-47 and ran away, but two policemen gave him the chase and got him isolated from the crowd, firing some shots in the air. They captured him alive and seized the knife, official sources said.
During interrogation, the assailant identified himself as Ashfaq Khan, cousin of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Abid Khan of Handoora, Tral.