February 2018 News

Shootout At SMHS: Militants Kill 2 Cops, Free LeT Militant

6 February 2018
Rising Kashmir
Javid Ahmad

Srinagar: Militants Tuesday staged a daring attack on police inside SMHS hospital in Srinagar by killing two policemen and freeing a Pakistani militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) Mohammad Naveed. Amid heavy patient rush, the shootout happened at around 11.30 am outside the medicine department in Out Patient Department (OPD) at SMHS when six prisoners were being brought for a medical checkup. Police said two policemen, who part of a police contingent accompanying six prisoners including LeT militant Mohammad Naveed Jatt of Pakistan, were injured in the shoot-out. The injured cops were identified as head constable Mushtaq Ahmad of Dildar Karnah, Kupwara and Babar Ahmad Khan of Shangus, Anantnag. Both expired. According to doctors, Mushtaq was hit by bullets on chest-piercing through his heart-and had died on the spot while Babar was evacuated to Surgical Intensive care Unit of the hospital, where he was operated. However, he later succumbed. Militants managed to free Naveed and fled from the hospital. After the militant attack, top police and security officials rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. Talking to reporters' on sidelines of a wreath-laying ceremony held at District Police Lines Srinagar, Deputy Inspector General of Police, central Kashmir, Ghulam Hassan Bhat said six prisoners were brought to the hospital for treatment and Naveed managed to escape from the scene. 'Six prisoners were brought to the hospital and while bringing Naveed to a room, there was firing incident. In the melee, Naveed escaped from the spot,' he said. He said rest the five prisoners were in police custody. 'Our weapons are also with us,' DIG said. According to sources, militants were present in the hospital before the prisoners were brought there for medical check-up and fired on police escort of Naveed, killing two policemen and freeing the Pakistani militant. DIG said two militants were involved in the attack. The six prisoners, he said, were escorted by an adequate contingent of police. He said the prisoners were accompanied by 18 policemen. According to hospital sources, no CCTV camera is installed at the spot of incident. 'Police is checking the CCTV footage of other cameras installed in the hospital,' they said. After the militant attack, security officials sounded an alert and nakas and check-points were set up in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley, where vehicles and commuters were being searched by the force personnel. The Director General (Prisons) has ordered an internal inquiry into the incident. The probe would be conducted by DIG Prisons and he has been asked to submit the probe report at the earliest. 'One Nursing orderly of Central Jail Srinagar accompanied the prisoners with medical records. The escort party was deputed by Police from DPL Srinagar,' said an official. Besides Naveed, five other prisoners were locals and have been identified as as Seeratul Hassan son of Mohammad Ilyas of Malaratha Srinagar, Abdul Ahad Rather son of Abdul Gani of Tarzoo Sopore, Mohammad Khalil Najar son of Manzoor Ahmad of Goos Satapora, Arif Ahmad Sheikh son of Ghulam Mohammad of Parimpora, Srinagar and Bashir Ahmad Salay son of Ghulam Mohammad of Baramulla. Sources said information about prisoners being taken to hospital from central Jail Srinagar was leaked. DG Prisons, SK Mishra said the prisoners including Naveed were taken for follow-up medical checkup. 'Naveed was taken for medical check earlier also. This time was his follow-up checkup,' he said. Mishra said the probe to be conducted by DIG prisons would try to find out whether or not there was any 'lapse' on part of prison officials. The Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Munir Ahmad Khan told Rising Kashmir that Special Investigation Team (SIT) of police has been constituted to conduct an investigation into incident. 'How it happened, from where the weapon came and who opened fire. We are investigating all this. We have constituted a SIT to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident,' Khan told Rising Kashmir. Asked whether SIT would look into how the information about prisoners went out, ADGP said, 'Yes. We will look into it and how the attack was planned.' According to Khan, it seems the incident was planned from inside the jail. 'This was properly planned,' he said. The top cop, however, said the matter of investigation was who fired at escort party. 'It has to be probed whether Naveed fired. It is to be probed who fired-whether it was Naveed or some other militant, who was already present in the hospital, and then facilitated escape of Naveed. All this will be investigated,' Khan added. Naveed was arrested by police in August 2014 from south Kashmir's Kulgam district. Senior officials said Srinagar had not witnessed such a getaway since 2001 when top militant General Abdullah managed to give a slip to his police guards and escaped by jumping from the first floor of SMHS hospital.