Militants on Friday opened fire on an army convey near the gate of a four-star hotel on the outskirts of Srinagar. The militants tried to force their entry into a nearby hotel and one employee was killed in the attack. Around three to four militants emerged at Pantha chowk-Parimpora by-pass road on the outskirts of Srinagar and opened fire on an army vehicle.
According to sources in the army, the vehicle was hit but no jawan was injured. The ulltras then fired indiscriminately near a gate of a hotel killing a hotel bell boy identified as Farooq Ahmad, a resident of Tral, and injuring three others.
The hotel is a four star, often frequented by the high profile in the valley. According to the hotel management everyone else in the hotel, including guests, are safe.
According to eye witnesses around 20 to 25 gun shots were heard before the militants fled from the spot. "I was offering namaz when i heard bullet shots. I ran out and saw a few of our colleagues injured," said another employee who refused to be named.
Another eyewitness who did not want to be named said, "Three to four people with back sacks opened fire on an army truck and the vehicle was hit. Then the boys left their bags and ran into the hotel firing indiscriminately. The casualties could have been very high if the army bus which was behind the truck was attacked".
While police does not want to reveal the specific target, sources in army say their convoy was passing on the road at that time.
"Our convoy was passing and we seemed to be the target but due to some civilian movement, the attack was foiled. The vehicles in the convoy that were in front heard the firing and the vehicles that were in the back were asked to stop, which is our standard drill. As the militants realised that their attempt had failed they fired indiscriminately killing a civilian," said an army official.
The police on the other hand are said, "militants had planned an attack on the highway which failed".
"The initial reports are suggesting that the militants -- around three to four tried to launch an attack on the highway. After the attack they tried to force their entry into the hotel which they couldn't and fired indiscriminately killing a hotel employee and injuring three others," IG Kashmir, SM Sahai told the media.
"We have cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to track down the militants," he added. According to him police has got some leads about the presence of militants in the area and are on their trail.
The attack comes after a period of prolonged peace and at a time when the largest-ever number of tourists visited the Valley. The numbers are predicted to cross the record two million this year. The move is significant as holiday season in the rest of the country starts this weekend and more tourists are expected to arrive in the valley.