Srinagar, Aug 14: Following a guerrilla attack in a south Kashmir town, tension prevailed in the Kashmir Valley Thursday on the eve of the nation’s Independence Day Aug 15. Three people – two policemen and a civilian – were killed in Pampore town of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Wednesday night in an attack by separatist guerrillas.
Although a caller identifying himself as a spokesman of the Hizbul Mujahideen group claimed responsibility for the attack, police and intelligence agencies said the attack was carried out by militants of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). “It is the same group that attacked a vehicle carrying BSF personnel in Pampore town Aug 11,” a senior intelligence officer told IANS here.
Earlier, a taxi, allegedly hijacked by guerrillas in Ramban district of Jammu region, was recovered late Wednesday in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. Police have so far dismissed the theory that the car was hijacked by militants. They say the vehicle was stolen by thieves who are being traced. For the Independence Day celebrations, a three-tier security ring has been thrown around the Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar where the main parade will be held Aug 15.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah will unfurl the national flag and take salute at the main parade at the stadium. The stadium was taken over by the security forces three days ahead of the parade. They banned all entry except through a strictly enforced access control system and authorized passes. The security forces installed CCTV cameras inside and around the stadium and in other sensitive places of the city.
An effective anti-sabotage mechanism has been put at place, a top police officer told IANS. Sharp shooters have been deployed at positions around the stadium and also at some buildings near the venue. There were fewer vehicles on Srinagar roads Thursday as people preferred to stay indoors or move out to Pahalgam, Gulmarg, and Sonamarg. On the other hand, all separatist leaders have called for a protest shutdown Thursday to grab international attention on what they call continuing subjugation of Kashmir by India.