Militants struck in Kashmir for the fourth time this month, killing a civilian and injuring a Indian Reserve Police battalion constable at a busy market in Sopore town, 55 km northwest of capital Srinagar, on Sunday.
The militants fired on a security patrol at Iqbal Market around 12.45pm, said Abdul Ghani Mir, inspector general of police, Kashmir range. "Of the three bullets fired, one hit a constable and another an elderly civilian."
The injured civilian, Abdul Rashid Dar, 65, succumbed to injuries at the Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital in Srinagar.
Constable Kishor Kumar, who was hit in the neck, was admitted to the hospital.
The militants, suspected to be on foot, managed to escape, as the police did not retaliate. "Militants try to provoke security forces to retaliate in busy markets to cause civilian casualties. It is a pattern," said Mir.
The Hizbul Mujahideen - a predominantly Kashmiri militant organisation - claimed responsibility for the attack in a call to a local news agency.
On the rise in attacks following Afzal Guru's hanging on February 9, Mir said militants could be taking advantage of the police and paramilitary forces being busy maintaining law and order.
On March 2, militants shot two police officials in north Kashmir's Handwara area. On March 13, two suicide attackers killed five Central Reserve Police Force troopers in Bemina area of Srinagar. In the third attack, a Border Security Force constable was killed on the outskirts of Srinagar on March 21.