SRINAGAR: Suspected militants on Sunday launched an early morning attack on a police station in the volatile south Kashmir. A constable was killed while militants also decamped with his rifle from the scene of the attack.

A police officer said a group of two to four militants fired indiscriminately at Shopian police station at around 6 am, apparently with the aim of gaining entry into the facility.

“The alert sentry at the main gate warded off the militants by retaliating but he was hit and evacuated to a hospital where he succumbed to injuries,” the police officer said.

The deceased has been identified as Saqib Mohiuddin, a resident of Zawoora village in Shopian district. A wreath laying ceremony was held for the slain at Shopian Police Lines after which the body has been handed over to his family members.

It was not immediately known if other cops were on duty at the time of the attack. Amit Kumar, chief of police in the restive south Kashmir region, refused to comment, saying he was “busy in a meeting”.

Amid heightening violence, the first phase of municipal polls are going to be held in the state from October 8 with 69 out of 149 wards going uncontested in 13 municipal bodies of Kashmir where dozens of civilians and security personnel have been killed in counter-insurgency operations this year.

With two main regional parties on a boycott against the legal challenges posited against the state’s special status under Indian Constitution, municipal elections are witnessing a cold response with 78 wards going uncontested in the first phase in the entire state.

“Of them 69 wards are in Kashmir Valley and nine are in Jammu province. In the first phase on the nine phased election, maximum wards have remained uncontested in south Kashmir,” chief electoral officer, Shaleen Kabra, said.

Counter-insurgency violence has assumed dangerous form this year in Kashmir with the security forces launching an all-out assault against militants who have retaliated with increasingly daring attacks.

The Shopian incident comes days after a special police officer, part of the security cover of Peoples Democratic Party legislator from south Kashmir’s Wachi constituency, decamped with seven AK-47 rifles and a licensed pistol from his Srinagar residence.

Earlier this month, two special police officers and a constable were abducted and later killed by suspected militants, forcing the J&K Police to issue a fresh advisory to its personnel who may avail leaves to visit their families.

(Cover Photo: Representational Image by BASIT ZARGAR)