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6 injured as militants attack Sopore police station

At least six persons including four policemen and a politician were injured as militants attacked Sopore police station in Baramulla district with grenades and gunfire twice within an hour today.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2010 14:40 IST

At least six persons including four policemen and a politician were injured as militants attacked Sopore police station in Baramulla district with grenades and gunfire twice within an hour on Friday.

Four policemen and a civilian were injured in the indiscriminate firing by militants on the police station in the North Kashmir town, 55 kms from Srinagar, Additional Superintendent of Police Abdul Waheed told PTI over phone.

The militants attacked the police station around 11.25 AM and the policemen guarding the complex retaliated, official sources said adding the exchange of fire continued for nearly half-an-hour.

Earlier, militants hurled a grenade towards the police station around 10.25 AM. The grenade exploded outside the main gate, injuring Mohammad Latief Mirchal who had unsuccessfully contested the last assembly elections as an independent from Sopore constituency.

Mirchal, a resident of Sopore, was rushed to hospital and his condition was stated to be stable, the sources said adding he was presently heading Awami Itihad party.

Waheed said the entire area was cordoned off and a hunt has been launched to nab the militants involved in the twin strikes, which gave credence to reports that militants were desperate to revive militancy in the border state.

No militant outfit has so far claimed responsibility for the incidents.

The grenade attack on the police station caused panic among people who were seen running helter skelter soon after hearing the big explosion.

The militants armed with sophisticated weapons then fired indiscriminately at the police station, creating fear among the already panic-striken shopkeepers and pedestrians.

"The entire town wore a deserted look as shopkeepers fled to safety leaving their establishments open. Many vehicles including two-wheelers were abandoned on the roads as their owners took cover to escape the bullets," sources said.

They described the attack on the police station as an attempt by militants to storm the building but the alertness of the sentries foiled their plan.

"The ultras fled in the face of retaliation by the police," they said.

Sopore, the home town of hardline separatist leader and chairman of breakaway faction of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has witnessed a series of militant attacks and fierce encounters over the past couple of months, the latest being the ambush on a CRPF patrol near Watlab on December 30, which left four CRPF jawans dead and another injured.

The abortive attempt by militants to launch a suicide attack at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar on January 5 has also a link with Sopore as one of the two militants holed up in a hotel was a resident of Sopore. The two militants were killed after nearly 22 hours of intense gunfight, which also left a policeman and a civilian dead.