The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on Tuesday opened fire at a police team inside the SMHS hospital complex in a high security area of Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital, freeing a “hardcore” Pakistani terrorist and killing two policemen, police said.
The daring attack inside the premises of Srinagar’s main hospital ended with the terrorists escaping into the narrow lanes and bylanes of downtown Srinagar, a police official said.
Mohammed Naveed Jhutt, the 22-year-old LeT militant from Pakistan who was caught in Kulgam in south Kashmir in 2014, managed to escape with the assailants, police said.
The ultras opened fire on the police party accompanying Jhutt, alias Abu Hanzala, outside the busy hospital in Kaka Sarai area, police said.
Head Constable Mushtaq Ahmad was killed in the attack that took place in the busy pre-lunch hour when the hospital, Srinagar’s main health care facility, is crowded with patients.
His colleague, Constable Babar Ahmad, was critically injured and admitted to the hospital. However, he succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
“It’s a very unfortunate incident and the terrorists managed to free one of their hardcore accomplices. We have sounded a red alert to nab all those involved in this crime,” said Director General of Police S P Vaid.
The police team was taking six prisoners, including Jhutt, to the hospital for treatment, added Deputy Inspector General (Central Kashmir) Ghulam Hasan Bhat, who visited the scene of the attack.
According to eyewitness accounts, the militants opened fire as soon as Jhutt, along with five other prisoners and the police team, got off the vehicle outside the Out Patient Department of the 70-year-old hospital.
The pheran-clad militants were lying in wait in the parking lot of the hospital.
Two Lashkar militants rained bullets at the police party and fled towards downtown Srinagar.
The hospital, named after Shri Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, is strategically located on the banks of a tributary of the river Jehlum, with uptown Karan Nagar on one side and Nawab Bazaar in downtown Srinagar on the other.
Jhutt, a school dropout from Borevella district of Multan in the Pakistan Punjab, is believed to be involved in multiple attacks. These include an attack on the Army in Hyderpora in the city, an attack on the Silver Star hotel along the national highway outside Srinagar and three attacks on police and CRPF camps in south Kashmir.
He was arrested on August 26, 2014.
The militant had undergone intensive training and was good in handling equipment like compasses, GPS, wireless sets and mobile phones installed with Skype software, an official said.
Jammu and Kashmir police wanted to shift him along with five other prisoners from Srinagar jail to other high security jails outside the Valley but was disallowed from doing so by the sessions court on December 26, 2017.