Jammu, March 20: In the first terror attack after Jammu and Kashmir got a new government on March 1, a civilian and three security personnel were killed on Friday when two guerrillas stormed a police station before being gunned down. After the seven-hour-long siege ended, Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed blamed “non-state actors” for the audacious attack on the Rajbagh police station in Kathua district, just 15 km from the Pakistan border. “This was carried out by non-state actors who are against peace and lifting of the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act),” he said. “It is time Pakistan realized this as they are also battling these elements.
“Yeh Islam hi hai. (This is not what Islam teaches),” he added. “We will not be deterred in our resolve to usher in permanent peace in the state by these acts.” The attackers, armed with automatic weapons and gredes and dressed in military fatigues, barged into the station complex after killing the lone guard at the main gate in a near repeat of a September 2013 attack in the same district.
The 6 a.m. strike took everyone by surprise. Once the attackers sneaked into the complex, on the Jammu-Pathankot highway, they started firing at a building held by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), killing two of its men. A civilian was also killed. Ten others, overwhelmingly security personnel, were wounded and rushed to hospitals.
Inspector General of Police Danish Ra announced the death of the two militants, whose tiolity was not known. An intelligence officer stated they may have crossed into Kashmir from Pakistan. The injured included seven CRPF personnel, a police constable, a civilian and Deputy Superintendent of Police Diwakar Singh, who sustained a bullet wound on his shoulder, Ra said. Police, paramilitary and soldiers rushed to the site but they were cautious as many CRPF men were inside the building which the militants had entered.
Amid covering fire from security forces from the outside, the trapped CRPF personnel maged to leave the building. This took time. It was filly around 1.30 p.m. that the authorities made the fil assault on the now isolated building, killing the two attackers. A thorough search was then made of the building. As the gun battle between the militants and security forces raged, traffic on the highway was halted. All schools in Kathua were hurriedly ordered shut. All school examitions scheduled in the district were postponed. This was the first terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir after a coalition government of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Jata Party took power on March 1. In the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajth Singh said: “We share the grief of the families of the police officers and the civilian killed by the terrorists.” Twelve people were killed on September 26, 2013 when guerrillas had attacked Hiragar police station also in Kathua district and then entered an army camp on the Jammu-Pathankot highway. (IANS)