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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

ASI shot dead by militants in Pulwama

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, May 10, 2013
First Published: 15:21 IST(10/5/2013) | Last Updated: 19:48 IST(10/5/2013)

Two days after the United Jehad Council (UJC) called for a boycott of the 2014 assembly elections, militants struck in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Friday and killed a cop.

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Assistant sub-inspector Farooq Ahmad Sheikh was performing duty near Rajpora Chowk in Pulwama district, 45 km south of Srinagar, when suspected militants fired at him from pointblank range around 2 pm.

"Sheikh was immediately shifted to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries," said a police spokesman in Srinagar.

A disturbing trend is emerging for the Jammu and Kashmir police this year. Most attacks carried out by militants have been on them.

Friday's attack has taken the total toll of cop killing for this year to seven, the highest compared to the toll of the last year for the same period.

On March 2, two cops were killed in north Kashmir's Handwara district and on April 26 four cops were killed in an ambush in north Kashmir's Hygam area.

The largest indigenous group Hizbul Mujahideen rewarded the militants with Rs. 5 lakh for the Hygam attack and pledged to carry out more attacks.

With local police taking a leading role in the counter-insurgency, the militants have shifted its focus too. More than half a dozen attacks this year were on the police, while the BSF and the CRPF faced only two attacks this year.

"There have always been attacks on the local police. Since 2006, there has been an increase in such attacks," inspector general of police, Kashmir range, Abdul Ghani Mir told the Hindustan Times.

"Militancy is not over yet," said Mir.

According to latest police report, there are eight militants active in Pulwama, which include seven Jesh-e-Muhammad militants and one Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Friday's attack has come just two days after the UJC asked separatists to form a united front and reach out to people to ensure a poll boycott of the 2014 assembly polls, an indication that the militants will make attempts to disturb these polls.

"The treatment meted to Afzal Guru (executed for the Parliament attack) and the 'heroic' funeral to Sarabjit Singh should be an eye opener for Kashmir's mainstream politicians as it exposes the double standards of New Delhi," said UJC chief Syed Salahuddin, who also heads the Hizbul Mujahideen, on Wednesday.

He said boycott of the 2014 polls have become inevitable. "The Indian government, its judiciary and its media, all have successfully projected the participation of people in polls as a referendum for J-K's accession to India at international forums, which has definitely taken a toll on the movement," he said.

The Hizbul chief also alleged that "the panchayat members were politicised by the mainstream politicians and exposed them to risk."

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