SRINAGAR: In a fresh act of vandalism, a group of passengers had a narrow escape when unidentified persons torched two vehicles on the outskirts of capital Srinagar today morning.

Police and witnesses said unidentified masked men appeared in Parimpora locality near Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway around 9 pm and signalled two Tata Sumo passenger vehicles (JK05B-5863 and JK09-9209) to stop.

"They thrashed the drivers who were ferrying passengers from north Kashmir's Kupwara, Baramulla and Sopore. None of the passenger was however hurt," police sources said.

The 'miscreants' then torched the vehicles and later managed to escape from the area, which is normally patrolled by traffic and police. According to witnesses, there were no cops in the area at the time of the incident.

SSP Srinagar, Amit Kumar, said the incident took place at around 7:40 am He said an FIR has been filed in the case but no arrests have been made so far.

"We have zeroed in on two persons involved in the case who will be arrested soon," SSP Kumar said, adding that none of the passengers was hurt.

Since the civil uprising broke out in the valley on July 8, hundreds of incidents of callous vandalism, allegedly by protesters, have been reported across Kashmir valley.

In many cases, private cars, businesses and even ambulances have been targeted by angry protesters who want people to strictly follow the Hurriyat's strike calendar.

Earlier this month, two auto rickshaws were set ablaze in Srinagar by unidentified persons for ferrying passengers during the period when the Hurriyat-sponsored strike was in force.

Although the police has not identified the miscreants in the previous case, the Hurriyat has distanced itself from such acts, showing its inability to control the random protesters on the streets.

In many cases, these protesters target private cars even during the period of relaxation in Hurriyat-sponsored strike with thousands of cars, including this reporter's, hit with stones by unidentified persons during the ongoing crisis.

Meanwhile, suspected militants snatched five rifles from police personnel in south Kashmir's Anantnag district last night. Police sources said the suspects attacked the guards deployed for protection of a Low Power Transmitter station of public-service broadcaster Doordarshan.

The incident took place in Dalvash village, "Five rifles were snatched from the guards who apparently didn't put up any resistance. A case has been registered and they (guards) are being questioned," he said.

(Cover Photograph Basit Zargar)