Srinagar: A police official was shot dead by separatist guerrillas near a police station in this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital today, the day authorities removed a bunker of the paramilitary forces from the city centre Lal Chowk after almost two decades.
Assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Suchpal Singh was shot from close range by unidentified gunmen near the Bagyaz police station where he was posted.
“The injured ASI was removed to the SMHS hospital where doctors tried their best to revive him, but he succumbed to fatal gunshot wounds,” a senior police officer said.
No separatist group has yet owned responsibility for the attack.
Coincidentally, an over two-decade bunker of the Central Reserve Police Force was removed from Lal Chowk Friday morning. Local residents and shopkeepers had long been demanding the removal of the bunker.
Separatist guerrillas had attacked the bunker over a dozen times. Its presence had made pedestrians and shopkeepers vulnerable to being caught in gunfights between the security forces and the guerrillas.
“So far, we have removed 40 bunkers from different places and the process will continue as the situation improves,” Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani said.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been eagerly pursuing the cause for reducing the footprints of security forces in the state.
He is also advocating revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from four districts of Srinagar, Badgam, Jammu and Samba to begin with.
Senior army officials maintain that a kneejerk response to the sensitive AFSPA issue would be fraught with serious risks as long as peace is not consolidated.