After working on certain leads, it has been found that militant groups possess US-made sniper guns that they use to attack forces in Kashmir, security experts said here Sunday.
According to the experts, such guns were used by the NATO forces against Taliban in Afghanistan, and in Kashmir, they believe, similar US-made sniper weapons are being used by militants to target forces from close ranges.
A top security expert from J&K's security grid said they were forced to go in a huddle to find out which weapon was being used by militants, of late.
"Attacks carried out by such guns are stand-off," he said.
According to the security expert, at least three to four sniper rifles are with militants.
"The first such gun was seen in the hands of slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sameer Tiger in a photograph uploaded on social networking sites. However, when he was killed in an encounter, he was carrying an AK-47 rifle," he said.
He said that first such rifle was recovered from a slain foreign militant killed at Aglar area of Pulwama in November 2017.
The expert said the security agencies including the police, army and CRPF have worked out a plan to identity these weapons being used by militants.
On Saturday, an assistant sub-inspector of Central Industrial Security Force was killed in what the police called a "stand-off" attack at Wagoora area near Nowgam, Srinagar. He was identified as Rajendera Prasad, who had been deployed for guarding a power grid station.
Prasad was third such casualty in a "stand-off" attack by militants, according to police sources.
Earlier on October 21, militants at Midoora area Tral, Pulwama killed a Sahastra Seema Bal man in a "sniper attack". Four days later, on October 25, an army soldier was killed and another injured at Lurgam, Tral. The attack, according to police, was similar to that of October 21.
A top security official said that "preliminary investigations" have revealed that the sniper guns presently being used by militants are fitted with night-vision devices which help in carrying out attacks in darkness.
The Nowgam attack took place at around 1 am, he said.
Additional director general of police (law and order/security) Munir Khan said that when Sameer Tiger was killed, he was carrying an AK-47 rifle. "But he was posing on social media wielding a US-made M-4 carbine gun. The gun was recovered from a foreign militant of Jaish killed in Pulwama which I displayed before the media when I was inspector general of police," he said.
"We are investigating the recent killings. We didn't find any empty cartridge around Nowgam area as that could have helped identify the nature of gun being used by the militants."
Inspector general of Central Reserve Police Force Ravideep Singh Sahi said that the situation is "not that alarming but our men have been asked to maintain extra vigil."
"Usually, sniper guns can target from 100 to 200 meter distance. To prevent such attacks, our men are sanitising areas around their camps," the IG said.