Gunmen kill officer, free militant in Kashmir hospital raid

Written by on February 6, 2018

Two gunmen opened fire Tuesday in a hospital in India-administered 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 restive province 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 told AFP.

He said another officer was critically wounded in the audacious daytime attack in the heart of the capital city of Indian Kashmir. 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.

The Pakistan-based militant group is active in Indian Kashmir, regularly staging armed assaults on the roughly half a million Indian soldiers deployed to the divided Himalayan territory.

India blames Pakistan for arming, training and deploying militant groups, including LeT, to foment unrest in the part of Kashmir controlled by New Delhi where many support the rebel cause.

Islamabad denies the allegations, saying it only provides diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri struggle for a right to self determination.

Pakistan and India both control parts of Kashmir but claim the whole of the territory and have fought two of their three wars over it since independence in 1947.

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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