4 troopers wounded in Bemina attack
Srinagar/April, 1: Panic created in city centre Lal Chowk here in Srinagar city following rumours that suspected militants had taken position inside a hotel.
Eyewitnesses said that a mentally challenged man rushed towards Taj Hotel located near Maisuma and locked himself up in the room. Taking him as a militant, men in uniform fired few shots in air that created chaos and confusion. People started running for safety while shopkeepers downed their shutters. In the meantime, a group of CRPF personnel barged into the hotel and dragged the ‘mentally’ unsound man out and handed him over to police for questioning.
Witnesses said that the heavy presence of government forces shortly after the incident made people believe that some militants have really taken position inside the hotel. Scores of youth emerged from Kokar Bazar, Maisuma and adjacent areas and pelted stone on Government Forces who retaliated with tear-smoke shelling.
The chaos and confusion resulted in massive traffic jam. Eye witnesses said amid chaos and confusion, government forces came under heavy stone-pelting at different places of city centre including Regal Chowk, Budshah Chowk, Kokar Bazar, Maisuma, and Court Road. Government Forces fired tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters. The confrontation between police and protesters continued for hours resulting in the disruption of life in city centre.
A police official said that a “mentally-challenged” person whom he identified as Abrar Ahmed of Nawab Bazar created a scene inside a hotel which triggered the rumours. He said that the person has been taken into custody. SP East Sheikh Faisal Qayoom denied that any firing incident occurred in city centre.
Meanwhile, suspected militants attacked an Army Convoy at Bemina Bypass resulting in the injuries of four soldiers. Sources said that militants targeted the last vehicle of the army convoy near JVC Hospital Bemina, creating panic in the area. Army according to eyewitnesses retaliated, however, militants managed to escape from the spot. Sources revealed that militants targeted the last vehicle of convoy from front and fired directly on the windshield. Reports said that at least four troopers were wounded in the attack and were admitted in the army hospital.
The area was cordoned off after the attack and a combing operation was launched to track down the militants, said an official.