Suspected terrorists attacked a paramilitary camp in the outskirts of Srinagar in the disputed region of Kashmir Wednesday, killing five officers before two gunmen were shot dead. At least five officers and three civilians were also wounded.
The brazen attack in the largest city in the Kashmir region jointly claimed by India and Pakistan is reportedly the largest such assault in three years.
According to officials and local news media reports, terrorists attacked a Central Reserve Police Force paramilitary camp in the Bemina area of Srinagar around 10:45 a.m. with grenades before entering an adjoining public school. Once there, they reportedly “fired indiscriminately” at civilians, including children playing cricket.
School was not in session due to a general strike protesting February’s hanging of a Kashmiri, Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was convicted of providing assistance in a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament. His execution was controversial in Kashmir and among local and international human rights groups.
The audacious attack occurred in Srinagar’s heavily fortified Bemina neighborhood, which houses a training center, hospital and residential quarters for security forces, including the Central Reserve Police Force, Indian Army and state government.
Srinagar senior police superintendant Ashiq Hussain Bukhari told reporters it appeared to be a suicide, or fidayeen, attack. The last major suicide attack in Kashmir took place in early 2010.
But a Central Reserve Police Force questioned the suicide-attack theory. “It’s not a fidayeen attack because no one came inside the camp and attacked the officers,” said Commandant Anand Singh, a spokesman. “People say just about anything.”