Militants gun down 2 cops in Srinagar street

SrSecurity personnel rush to the scene where two policemen were killed by unidentified militants at Hari Singh High Street in Srinagar on Saturday. PTI

Three days ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's scheduled visit to Kashmir, militants struck in the heart of Srinagar city killing two policemen.

On Saturday afternoon, militants fired at two policemen on the busy Hari Singh High Street, killing both of them. The attack took place close to a security bunker manned by the CRPF personnel. "Our initial investigations reveal that the militants used pistols," said IGP Kashmir Abdul Gani Mir.

The police said the militants fired at the policemen from point-blank range. While Head Constable Mohammad Maqbool died on the way to the hospital, Constable Nazir Ahmad died while he was being operated upon at the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital. The police said that a girl, a resident of Ganderbal, was also wounded in the attack.

The attack took place ahead of the Prime Minister's visit to Kashmir for the inauguration of the Qazigund-Baihal rail link. The police, however, refused to link the attack to Singh's visit. "This (attack) is not a matter of concern for us," IGP Mir said when asked whether they are concerned about the attack ahead of Prime Minister Singh's visit. "This (attack) has not happened for the first time. Such incidents have happened previously as well."

The attack also assumes significance as the police have been claiming that Srinagar city is free of militants. In fact, this is the first attack on policemen in Srinagar in the past two years.

In September 2011, militants shot dead a policeman at Batamaloo neighborhood of the city. A year ago, militants also killed a retired police officer at Tengpora in Srinagar.

Sources said the police had inputs that militants might try to strike in Srinagar city in coming days. They said that the police on Friday had launched a search operation in the city after these inputs. In fact, after a long time, the police on Friday cordoned off the city centre Lal Chowk and started frisking people.

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