A regular morning cup of tea proved fatal for two unarmed policemen who were gunned down by a terrorist in broad daylight in an upmarket Srinagar area, an incident witnessed by several people and captured on CCTV cameras, police said on Friday.
The two policemen, posted in nearby Saddar Police station on the high-security airport road, had gone to a close by shop to have their morning tea when they were attacked by the terrorist, police officials said.
The nearby police station and a security bunker at the beginning of a lane had given them the confidence to go to the tea shop unarmed, they said.
The terrorist, identified as Saqib, can be seen pulling out an assault rifle hidden inside his 'pheran', a loose over-garment worn during winters, and pumping bullets at them at a close range.
The attacker can be seen fleeing from the spot as people scatter around in horror.
Police said that there were two other accomplices with him at a distance, which included a wanted militant from South Kashmir
"We have identified the terrorist and we will soon catch hold of him," Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbagh Singh, told PTI in Srinagar.
Saqib, according to the police, had joined militancy seven months back. The Resistance Front (TRF), believed to be a shadow outfit of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba terror group, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The two policemen were rushed to SMHS hospital.
Constable Suhail was the first one to succumb while his colleague, Constable Mohammed Yusuf, lost the battle of life as he was being wheeled into the operation theatre, police said.
Immediately after the incident, police teams rushed to the area and took into their possession recordings from CCTV cameras installed by shops and houses. This led them to identify the terrorist as Saqib from Barzulla area in the city.
This is the second attack in the city in three days.
On Wednesday evening, terrorists shot at and injured the son of a popular eatery owner in the city's high security Durganag area at a time when a 24-member delegation of envoys from various countries visited Jammu and Kashmir to assess the ground situation in the union territory.
Meanwhile, various political parties reacted to the Friday's incident, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, condemning the killing of the two unarmed policemen.
Abdullah, who is also the National Conference (NC) vice president, said the attack was 'reprehensible' as the two policemen were unarmed and shot from behind.
'I condemn this act of militant violence and send my condolences to the families of these brave men,' he tweeted.
'What makes this attack even more reprehensible is that SgCT Mohammad Yousuf of Zurhama and Ct Suhail Ahmad of Logripora were unarmed and shot in the back. Senseless and cowardly at the same time,' he added.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mufti condemned the attack, saying the cycle of violence only begets misery.
'Condemn the killing of two policemen in the Baghat attack. My heart goes out to their families and loved ones. This cycle of violence serves no cause and begets only misery,' she tweeted.
People's Conference, led by Sajad Lone, also condemned the killing of the policemen.
'We strongly condemn the killing of two policemen in a dastardly and savage act of senseless violence at Baghat today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Suhail Ahmad and Mohd Yusuf in this hour of grief,' the party said.
Local leaders of the BJP and the Congress also condemned the killings. BJP leader Altaf Thakur termed the attack an act of cowardice.
'There is no place for such cowardly acts and the attackers must be brought to book,' he said.