Two gunmen opened fire yesterday in a hospital in Jammu and Kashmir where a Pakistani militant was brought for treatment, an official said, escaping with the high-profile prisoner and killing a police officer in the daring assault.
A manhunt is underway after the assailants stormed the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar and opened fire on police guarding Naveed Jutt, a Pakistani rebel imprisoned in the state since 2014.
“The militants attacked the policemen inside the hospital, killed one accompanying the Pakistani prisoner, and fled on a motorcycle,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Ghulam Hassan Bhat said.
He said another officer was critically wounded in the audacious daytime attack in the heart of Kashmir’s capital city.
Patients and hospital staff panicked but none were injured.
Bhat said a manhunt was underway to capture Jutt, an influential rebel who ranked second in command of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group at the time of his arrest.
“Jutt, a resident of Multan in Pakistan, joined the LeT in 2011 and was active in the Kashmir Valley for four years before he was arrested in Kulgam district last year,” police said.
“He was a close associate of Abu Qasim, the LeT commander, who was killed in 2015 by the security forces in Kulgam district.”
Police refuted media reports that the escaped militant had snatched the rifle of a policeman before escaping.
The area around the hospital was sealed. Vehicles moving in the city were being searched to trace the escaped militant.
All exit points from Srinagar city were also sealed as vehicles going to urban and rural areas were being checked.
The Pakistan-based militant group is active in Kashmir, regularly staging armed assaults on the roughly half a million soldiers.
LeT has been blamed for a string of deadly attacks inside India, most notably the Mumbai carnage in November 2008 that left more than 160 people dead in violence on the streets of the financial capital.
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