8 BSF jawans injured in Kashmir attack ahead of Modi’s visit
Eight men of the Border Security Force (BSF) 151 battalion, including an Assistant Commandant sustained injuries in a militant attack on the paramilitary convoy at Pampore, 14 km from Srinagar, on Srinagar-Jammu highway late on Monday night.
Official sources told The Hindu that the BSF convoy was returning to its camp at Pantachowk, in Srinagar outskirts, at 10.15 p.m. when suspected militants attacked it from two sides at Kadalbal in the highway township of Pampore, famous for its saffron fields but infamous for scores of similar attacks in the last 25 years of the separatist militancy in Kashmir.
Sources said that the militants escaped and the injured BSF personnel were admitted to Army’s 92 Base Hospital at headquarters of 15 Corps. All of them, hit by AK-47 fire in a bus returning from Pahalgam, were reportedly stable.
In recent times, Kashmir’s eminent cardiologist Dr Sheikh Jalal was shot dead here in July last year along with two of his personal security officers whose weapons were also looted before the assassins escaped. In 2002, suspected militants shot dead then ruling outfit Peoples Democratic Party’s MLA Abdul Aziz Mir just a month after the formation of the government and Assembly elections. His assassination in broad daylight occurred outside his village mosque at Konibal.
Monday’s suspected militant attack took place after the residents of Pampore observed a slain separatist leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz’s 6th death anniversary with a shutdown and speeches at the remembrance function by a number of the separatist leaders. In the last three years, Pampore – Pulwama- Tral belt of southern Kashmir has emerged as the hub of militant activity, resulting in the State’s lowest voter turnout in this year’s Lok Sabha elections. In close vicinity of the town, militants attacked the Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge Justice Hasnain Massodi’s police guarded residence, killing two Police guards. However, both the Pakistani cadres of LeT were intercepted and killed by Army and Police in an encounter while fleeing from Khrew village.
Suspected LeT militants attacked the BSF convoy hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir. On Tuesday, Mr Modi is scheduled to inaugurate two power projects at Leh and Kargil in Ladakh region. He will be also visiting the world’s highest battlefield of Siachen Glacier for an inspection of the forward positions and an interaction with the jawans and Army officers. Army chief Gen. Dalbir Singh is camping in Leh since Sunday to receive the Prime Minister.