Srinagar/New Delhi, March 13: Five CRPF troopers and two terrorists were killed in Srinagar Wednesday when the guerrillas attacked a paramilitary picket in the first terror attack in the Kashmir Valley in three years.
Nine others were injured when a deadly firefight erupted as at least two heavily-armed terrorists entered the playground of a police public school in Bemina.
Home Secretary R.K. Singh said in New Delhi the two terrorists were “probably from Pakistan”.
“Both the terrorists who have been killed appeared prima facie to be not locals but from across the border, and the first impressions are that they are probably from Pakistan,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
He said the ministry had inputs that four terrorists had infiltrated into the country.
The attackers apparently mingled with some boys who went to school to play cricket. The school was shut because of a strike in the Kashmir Valley called by separatists.
“There was fierce exchange of gunfire, and two militants were killed. Five CRPF troopers were martyred,” a police officer told IANS.
Three civilians and six men of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were also injured in the attack.
“All the injured civilians are out of danger. Doctors have described the condition of one CRPF trooper as critical,” a police officer told IANS.
Security forces immediately cordoned off the playground and mounted a massive search for militants who might be hidding in the area.
Wednesday’s suicide attack in Srinagar is the first in the valley since 2010. No one has claimed responsibility.
The attack came at a time when the separatists called for protests in the valley to mount pressure on the government to return the body of Afzal Guru, who was hanged for the attack on the Indian parliament.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told the assembly in Jammu about Wednesday’s attack.
Abdullah, who also holds the home portfolio, said the attack began at 10.45 a.m.
In New Delhi, Minister of State for Home Affairs R.P.N. Singh condemned the attack and described it as an act of cowardice.
He also expressed deep sympathies towards families of the CRPF soldiers who were killed.
But BJP president Rajnath Singh slammed the government for not acting against Pakistan on terror.
“We have asked the government again and again but they are not taking any steps. At the time of the Mumbai attacks (November 2008), we told the government that India should snap all ties with Pakistan.
“We also asked the government to stop confidence building measures till Pakistan assures us that no more terrorist activities would take place from their soil,” he said.