By News Desk
Eight Indian army personnel were killed and sixteen others injured on Monday when suspected militants opened fire on an Army convoy on the outskirts of Srinagar ahead of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, in the second major militant attack in three days.
Eyewitnesses told a local news agency that the militants opened fire on Monday at an Army convoy at Hyderpora bypass on the outskirts of the city.
The convoy was fired at from both sides of the road near Classic Hospital, police said, adding that the militants fired over a dozen rounds. “Several jawans sustained bullet wounds in the attack and their condition was critical,” police statement added.
Suspected militants fled from the spot in a car with tinted windows. A motorcycle, possibly used by the suspected militants, has been recovered, police said.
Army, Police and CRPF immediately cordoned off the area and a massive hunt has been launched to nab the attackers, police said. Monday’s attack comes two days after militants gunned down two policemen in the heart of Srinagar.
The attack came even as security has been beefed up across the valley in view of the Indian prime minister’s two-day visit. Prime Minister Office sources in Delhi said there was no change in Singh’s program.
The prime minister is scheduled to reach here on Tuesday along with the UPA Chairman Sonia Gandhi on a two-day visit, during which he is expected to announce a compensation package for border districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh and Gandhi will also launch a train service on a railway section between Qazigund in Kashmir and Banihal in Jammu region that will provide an all-weather link to the valley.
Meanwhile half-an-hour later, firing was reported in Barzulla area, two kilometers away from Hyderpora on Airport-Lal Chowk road resulting in injuries to CRPF personnel.
“One CRPF personnel has been injured in the militant firing near out Rambagh camp,” said police official.
Army spokesperson S N Shaan told a news agency, “an attack on army convoy was carried by militants around 4:30 PM in which 4 army personnel of 35 RR was killed and 6 were injured.”
In a police statement to Kashmir News Service, at around 1630 hrs, Army vehicles were plying on Bypass, Srinagar. “Near Classic Hospital, two militants ambushed the vehicles and resorted to firing. They also hurled grenade inside a vehicle. In the incident few causalities have been reported where as few Army Jawans were also injured. All the injured have been shifted to the Hospital,” said the statement.
The statement also added: “The militants when retaliated fled from the spot on a Motorcycle towards Barzulla. They were intercepted at Barzulla and a brief exchange of fire took place in which one CRPF Jawan and one police personnel was injured. Militants again managed to flee from the spot leaving behind the Motorcycle. The Motorcycle has been seized. The area has been cordoned off and the search for the militants is going on.”
Militant outfit, Hizbul Mujahideen has owned responsibility for the attack. In a telephonic message to the new agency, a caller identifying himself as Baleeguddin, Spokesman of Hizbul Mujahideen said guerillas of the outfit carried out the attack on Army convoy.
In a telephonic message an another militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad claims responsibility of attack which was carried near Barzulla.