A policeman and a woman were wounded in a militant attack in south Kashmir's Anantnag town on Monday, even as militants managed to give slip to government forces during a cordon-and-search operation (CASO) launched in Malangpora village of Pulwama district last night, officials and reports said.
A police official said militants attacked a police party at bus stand in Anantnag town at around 11 am, leaving a policeman and a woman injured. Both were rushed to District Hospital Anantang.
He identified the injured policeman as Ghulam Hassan of IRP 16 battalion and a resident of Kulan village in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir.
"He had sustained bullet injury in his face. He has been referred to Army's base hospital in Srinagar," said a doctor at District Hospital Anantnag, adding that his condition was critical.
The woman injured in the attack was identified as Sumit Kaur wife of Dalbeer Singh of Chatisinghpora, Mattan. "She had received bullet injury in her shoulder and was operated upon," said a doctor. "Her condition is stable."
The militants fled from the spot even as police, army and paramilitary forces cordoned off the area and launched searches to nab the attackers. Locals alleged that army men thrashed pedestrians and drivers after the attack. "A photojournalist Sheikh Mashok working with a local English daily was also assaulted by army men while performing his professional duties," witnesses said.
"A police vehicle and a tractor collided with each other minutes after the militant attack on the police party. A speeding police Rakshak vehicle, which was heading towards the spot of the militant attack, collided with a tractor near FM Lane on the Khanabal-Pahalgam road. However no one was injured."
Today's militant attack comes barely two days after a Lashkar-e-Toiba district commander for Anantnag, Bashir Lashkari along with his aide 'Abu Maas' were killed by government forces in an encounter in nearby Dialagm village.
Meanwhile, government forces again launched a cordon-and-search operation (CASO) in Wanihama-Dialgam but called it off after "nothing" was found.
Sources said paramilitary forces have reportedly apprehended a man in suspicious circumstances at Pahalgam, the base camp of ongoing Amarnath Yatra. "An unidentified person carrying a knife was arrested outside Nunwan base camp two days back by CRPF men on yatra duty," they added.
However, a senior police official posted in south Kashmir said he was mentally challenged but did not disclose any further details. It could not be confirmed where from the person hailed, the reason of his arrest and if he has been released.
MALANGPORA SIEGE OVER, 4 CIVILIANS INJURED
Government forces on Monday called off the cordon-and-search operation launched in Malangpora village of Awantipora tehsil of Pulwama district after militants escaped the siege, official sources said.
They said the operation was called off around 1:30 am.
Massive clashes had erupted in the village after forces started the CASO on Sunday evening, resulting in injuries to four civilians.
Unconfirmed reports said top Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo and his two associates were present in the village when the operation was launched. "As soon as the search operation started, announcements were made on mosque loudspeakers urging people to come out and help the militants escape. People instantly hit the streets and pelted the forces with stones. Forces while retaliating used tear-smoke shells to disperse them," sources said.
A joint party of police, army and CRPF had launched the CASO after a tip-off about presence of militants.