An attempt by alleged militants to snatch the service rifle of a cop, guarding historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, was foiled by police with the help of some local youth, police said on Friday.
Although unheard in the past, this is the second incident of its kind this year when locals have openly helped police to avert sabotage allegedly by militants. The incident occurred in the afternoon when a police constable of Indian Reserve Police guarding Jamia Masjid in old city was 'attacked by militants' from the rear.
"The militants taking advantage of a huge crowd, who had thronged the Jamia Masjid on Friday prayers, hit the constable on head with a pistol. He fell unconscious. The militants ran away after taking the service rifle of the injured constable," said a police spokesman.
The officer said, a police constable and local youth chased the militants. The two militants were overpowered at Bhori Kadal and the Insas rifle was recovered from them.
"A Chinese pistol and four rounds were also seized from the militants. However, they managed to fled from the spot," the police official said.
The area around Jamia Masjid in downtown is hot bed of separatists and the stage for frequent clashes between stone throwers and police. Moderate separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, is the chief priest of the grand mosque and has huge following in the area.
Earlier this week immediately after Eid prayers, protesters set ablaze a police vehicle in Eid-Gah, a nearby area of Jamia Masjid.
This incident happened three months after an auto driver detected a 50-kg IED planted inside a white color Maruti Car beneath a bridge in Srinagar in May this year.
The driver, who was later awarded by Kashmir Inspector General of Police, had tipped the police regarding the abandoned vehicle in which the device was planted only to be diffused later.