A fidayeen squad of terrorists in army fatigues stormed a police station in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district, killing three security personnel and leaving 11 others, including a deputy superintendent of police injured, in the wee hours on Friday.
Two terrorists, who were members of a fidayeen squad which had infiltrated, were also killed in the subsequent encounter with security forces that ended around noon. This is the first major terror attack in the state since the formation of the People’s Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government in the state on March 1.
Police officers said a group of two militants of a fidayeen squad stormed Rajbagh police station in the wee hours and opened indiscriminate fire. "It is a fidayeen attack," Inspector General of Police Jammu Danish Rana said. "Two militants have been killed. The pperation has ended. Besides two CRPF men, a policeman also died in the encounter," Rana told reporters in Kathua.
Earlier, police had said that a total of six persons, including two militants, were killed in the attack. He said 11 people, including a deputy SP, were injured. They have been hospitalised. Some important documents and arms and ammunitions have been recovered, he said.
An injured Central Reserve Police Force constable Bharat Prabhu said that the terrorists wearing army uniforms intercepted a jeep going from Jammu to Pathankot on the pretext of checking the vehicle. The ultras then hijacked the jeep which had three passengers on board and fled towards the Rajbagh police station where they opened fire on a sentry and killed him. They fired grenades at the police station and opened indiscriminate fire. "We had gunned down one terrorist before we were injured", the CRPF jawan said.
The police station looked like a battle ground with bullet holes on the wall. The attack triggered panic among people living close to the police station. "As the firing started at the police station, we closed our windows and kept our family on the ground flood. We spent several hours in fear," Sham Lal, who lives close to the police station, said.
Additional troops have been rushed to the spot and the Jammu-Pathankot Highway has been closed as a precautionary measure. Entire area in and around the police station has been cordoned off.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the DGP of Jammu and Kashmir and took stock of the situation. Singh has directed the home secretary to closely monitor the situation. The attack figured in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly with opposition members seeking an explanation from the government on the incident.
The issue was raised by National Conference MLA Devender Singh Rana, who wanted to know what steps were taken by the government to thwart such attacks. He said the House wants to know how the militant attack took place. While condemning the attack, Communist Party of India-Marxist MLA M Y Tarigami said the House needs to show a united face in condemning such tragedies and expressed sympathy with the family of those killed in the attack.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also condemned the attack. "…These types of attacks have taken in the past also and the route has been repeatedly used by them. I can say with confidence that once the probe of this encounter is done, you will find that these militants might have infiltrated during the night. They found the Kathua police station as the first target and attacked it," Omar said, while asking the Centre and state governments to learn some lessons from such attacks in the past.
"The infiltrating terrorists are repeatedly using these routes. They could not rectify this weakness in the infiltration grid," the NC leader said.