J&K: Terrorist killed while trying to escape police custody

The incident was followed by eruption of intense clashes between irate crowds and the security forces along the streets of Tral area.

Srinagar: A Hizbul Mujahideen militant, who was in police custody, was killed and a policeman was injured when suspected militants tossed a hand grenade into a police station in Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Pulwama district, the police in Srinagar said.

The incident was followed by eruption of intense clashes between irate crowds and the security forces along the streets of Tral area. The police, witnesses said, fired rifles over the heads of the stone-pelting mobs and also burst teargas canisters to quell the protests. The traders earlier brought their shutters down and vehicles were withdrawn from roads, a report received from Tral said.

According to a statement issued by the police, the militant Mushtaq Ahmed Chopan alias Haroon who was in police custody had tried to escape from the police station in Tral town, wearing burqa.

“When he was near the main gate someone from outside lobbed a grenade as a part of the planned conspiracy to divert the attention so that he could escape conveniently. The grenade exploded inside the police station nearby him resulting into death of the said detainee and injury to one constable Merajuddin,” the statement said.

The police are silent over how the detainee acquired burqa while in its custody. He was arrested along with his two associates by the police in Sopore area in north-western Baramulla district on January 9 and was currently under “custodial change” as he was wanted also by Awantipora (Pulwama district) police. Chopan was a resident of Wagad village of Tral area of Pulwama.

The police said that he was involved in two FIRs lodged at police station Tral under various sections the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Another FIR stands registered against him under Section 7/27 of the Arms Act in Sopore police station.

The police said that a magisterial inquiry has been initiated into Monday’s incident under Section 176 CrPC (magisterial inquiry into cause of death of a person in police custody).

“The circumstances under which he was escaping are being looked into,” it added.

Earlier Director General of Police, Shesh Paul Vaid, tweeted, “A militant Mushtaq Ahmad Chopan died in grenade explosion when challenged by sentry while trying to escape from Police Station Tral”.

The police said that the injured cop was shifted to the 52-Army Base Hospital in Srinagar whereas the autopsy of the slain militant was being conducted at a different hospital.

The incident comes a day after militants shot dead two policemen while one was guarding a Sufi shrine in Charar-e-Sharief town in central district of Budgam and another was posted at the resident of a Hurriyat Conference (Mirwaiz) leader Faza-ul-Haq Qureshi in Srinagar’s Soura area. The assailants also snatched their service weapons.

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