Two back to back attacks in the Srinagar city has send alarm bells ringing with the security agencies as it is an indication that militants have managed to penetrate into the city after a long time. Srinagar was considered militancy free zone, thought occasional attacks used to take place.
However police unveiled the attackers and tried to send a signal that militancy is still under control. However escape of a high profile militant Naveed Jatt from the city’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) hospital has exposed the chinks with the security apparatus in the city.
Not only militants managed to get a high profile commander released but also killed two policemen who were escorting him while he was being taken to hospital. The attack took place in the hospital that located close to the Karan Nagar police station. Though after two days with the help of CCTV footage the police got major clues about the men involved in the attack and arrested four people who according to the police had helped Pakistani militant to escape.
The police also claimed to have seized motorcycle and a car used in the escape from south Kashmir. However according to the police the mastermind of attack Bilal Ahmad is still at large and police could track him down as he along with Naveed Jatt after reaching Kakapora Pulwama left for an unidentified spot.
Hilal who was an over ground worker has now officially joined militancy as his picture with AK 47 was released on the social media. The militants also released the pictures of Naveed Jatt carrying Ak 47 rifles along with top Hizbul Mujahideen commanders Saddam Padder and Riyaz Naikoo.
Soon after the attack, Naikoo released an audio claiming that Naveed along with the militant had reached at a safe destination. Though Naveed was affiliated with Lashkar, however, ADGP Muneer Khan in a recent press conference said that militants of Hizb and Lashkar are working jointly in many areas especially in south Kashmir. He said the conspiracy to get Naveed escape was hatched four months ago as the Lashkar had suffered many setbacks after the killing of top commanders.
The Lashkar high command was also looking for an opportunity to get Naveed released. Naveed was arrested in 2014 from Yaripora Kulgam. He was close associate of militant commander Abu Qasim and had a good network of sources across south Kashmir. Police have apprehension that he will try to revive Lashkar again in south Kashmir.
Meanwhile, the JK government has shifted jail superintendent and DG Prisons SK Mishra for the security lapses. JK DGP, SP Vaid blamed jail authorities for these lapses. Meanwhile, National Investigative Agency has taken over this case and the team of NIA will be investigating all the angles of this case.
Even officials said that four persons who were arrested by NIA will be handed over to NIA.
As the police was investigating the case militants on Monday morning tried to sneak into a battalion headquarter of the CRPF at Karan Nagar. The CRPF didn’t allow the militants to sneak into the camp, however militants took shelter into a big building close to CRPF camp.
In the encounter a CRPF jawan was killed and another policeman injured. Lashkar took the responsibility for this attack that continued for two days. This was the first time when militants after five years tried to carry out fidayeen attack in the city.
From past one week, there had been strong intelligence inputs that militants will try to carry out a big attack in the city especially during the death anniversaries of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat and the attack at the Karan Nagar could have been part of it. These back to back attacks are worrying for the security forces.
With the arrival of spring and when offices will shift to summer capital there is every possibility that militants will try to strike in the city. So far major attacks have been carried either in south Kashmir or in north Kashmir. There are fresh inputs in which officials have not ruled out the possibility of attacks. Despite killing of over 200 local and non local militants last year there seems that graph of militancy will go further up as more local boys have joined militant ranks.
Security experts fear hot summer due to the presence of militants in different parts of Kashmir. In the recent past the security has been enhanced across Kashmir but still militant are able to strike at will. So the time has come when both the state and central government need to think seriously on the issue and not let clock to trickle back to 1990’s and witness the another phase of death and destruction.