Srinagar: Three dead, 11 injured in militant attack on police bus

Three policemen were killed and 11 injured after militants attacked a bus carrying security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir, police officials said.

They said three militants fired indiscriminately on the bus near a police camp in Srinagar city on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences, and has sought more details on the attack.

The area has been cordoned off, and a search operation is underway.

Officials say the attack happened when the policemen were returning to their campus after work, and that the militants escaped under cover of darkness while security forces retaliated.

Two of the policemen – assistant sub-inspector Ghulam Hassan and constable Safique Ali – died on Monday night, according to an official statement. A third, constable Rameez Ahmad Baba, succumbed to injuries on Tuesday morning.

Kashmir’s inspector general Vijay Kumar said in a statement that “credible sources revealed that the attack was carried by Kashmir Tigers, an offshoot of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)”.

JeM, a Pakistan-based group, has been designated a terror organisation by India and the United Nations, as well as the UK and US. It previously claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on 14 February 2019 in Kashmir in which at least 46 soldiers died. It was one of the deadliest attacks on Indian forces in the region.

Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan, but ruled in parts by the nuclear-armed neighbours. India has long accused Pakistan of backing separatist militants in the valley – a charge Islamabad denies.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, tweeted their condolences.

Terrible news of a terror attack on a police bus on the outskirts of Srinagar. I unequivocally condemn this attack while at the same time send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers for the injured.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 13, 2021

Ms Mufti added that the attack “exposed” the “false narrative of normalcy in Kashmir” put forward by PM Modi’s government.

Indian-administered Kashmir has seen an insurgency against Delhi since the late 1980s and relations have been tense amid accusations of excesses by security forces. But they reached a new low in 2019 when Mr Modi’s government revoked the region’s special autonomy.