• Monday, November 28, 2022

INDIA

Two dead as militants ambush Indian police bus in Kashmir

Indian Army soldiers stand guard on the outskirts of Srinagar on December 13, 2021, after two suspected militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces, police said. (Photo by HABIB NAQASH/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

SUSPECTED rebels ambushed a police bus in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday (13), leaving two officers dead and a dozen others wounded, officials said — just hours after government forces killed a pair of militants in a shootout.

Shortly after darkness fell, gunmen sprayed the bus — which was transporting an unknown number of personnel from the police headquarters in a high-security area of the region’s main city Srinagar — with automatic weapons fire, one officer said.

Police said on Twitter that two officers had died in the attack.

“At least 12 other policemen were injured in the attack, a few of them are in a critical condition,” said the police officer, who was not authorised to speak to journalists, on condition of anonymity.

The area was sealed off as reinforcements searched for the assailants.

Prime minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and “has sought details” of the attack, his office said on Twitter.

Hours before the attack, Indian counterinsurgency police killed two suspected rebels during a brief “chance encounter” at a checkpoint near the city’s military airport, after the suspects fired at them.

Witnesses said the encounter ended within minutes, and accused the police of killing the suspects without justification, saying they never fired at the officers.

Police fired tear gas shells as dozens of angry residents, including women, took to the street near the site of the incident, throwing stones at them amid chants of “We want freedom.”

Last week, suspected rebels had shot dead two police officers in the northern Bandipore area of the Kashmir valley.

Armed encounters between rebels and government forces are common in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, which is also claimed by Pakistan, which administers part of the disputed territory.

Anger has simmered in the region since August 2019 when New Delhi cancelled its partial autonomy and brought it under direct rule.

Officials say that since then, around 370 militants, 96 civilians and 83 security personnel have died.

(AFP)

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