Srinagar: A Jammu and Kashmir Police inspector was shot and critically injured in a targeted attack in the downtown area of the capital Srinagar on Sunday, October 29, officials said.
A senior J&K police officer said that the victim identified as Masroor Ahmad Wani was shot with a pistol from point blank range near Eidgah locality of Srinagar.
The police have described the shooting as a terrorist attack and in a post on X (formerly Twitter), said that the area was cordoned off and a case was registered in connection with the incident.
Sources said a lone shooter fired at least three to four shots at Wani near Eidgah ground, which is normally bustling on Sundays with local cricket-enthusiasts.
According to the news agency PTI, Wani was playing cricket with local boys when he was shot.
The assailant later fired more shots in the air to scare the crowd in order to escape from the area, the source added.
An official said that the victim was rushed to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in the adjoining Soura locality, where his condition is believed to be very critical.
“The patient has suffered injuries in face and abdomen and he is being operated on presently. He is in a very serious condition,” said a source at SKIMS.
The Resistance Front, which officials believe is an offshoot of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba, has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes after a brief lull in targeted attacks on civilians and security forces in Kashmir.
Wani is a resident of Eidgah’s Narwara Yechpora area and he was posted in Srinagar District Police Lines, according to a report. He is also believed to have served in the counterintelligence unit of Jammu and Kashmir Police, although there was no official confirmation on this. He was married recently and his wife is reportedly pregnant.
In recent years, Eidgah has emerged as a militant hotspot with at least three similar attacks targeting civilians and security forces reported in recent months from the area which used to be an epicentre of anti-India and pro-freedom protests in Kashmir before Article 370 was read down.
In 2021, a non-local vendor was shot and killed in the area at a time when a wave of attacks targeting the minority Hindus and non-locals were reported across Kashmir Valley.
Two CRPF personnel have also been injured in two more militant attacks in the area in recent months. In January this year, a civilian was injured in a grenade attack in Eidgah.
According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, which monitors the insurgency in Jammu Kashmir, close to two dozen security personnel have been gunned down in the line of duty in the union territory this year.
Ten civilians were also shot dead during this period, including a Kashmiri Pandit, who was killed in Shopian in February this year.
In 2021, Parvaiz Ahmad Dar, a J&K Police inspector, was shot at by two terrorists while he was going to offer prayers in Srinagar’s Nowgam area. Dar later succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.
The attack in Eidgah comes close on the heels of the killing of five infiltrators by security forces along the Line of Control, the de-factor border in north Kashmir’s Kupwara on October 26.
The frontier district is one of the routes used by Pakistani terrorists infiltrating into Kashmir.
The terror attack in Srinagar comes at a time when the situation along the LoC has recently heated up with two incidents of ceasefire violation reported by security forces this month alone.
In one incident, a group of villagers in Arnia along the International Border in Jammu had to flee after their residences came in the line of fire.
According to official figures, 37 foreign terrorists were killed in Jammu and Kashmir this year while the number of local militants gunned down this year was only nine, indicating that foreigners have expanded their footprint in the union territory.
The issue was reportedly one of the agendas of a key meeting of top security officials which was held at the Army’s strategic 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar earlier this month.