A Constable, Kultar Singh of Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police's 13th Battalion, suffered injuries. Singh was shifted to a hospital where he succumbed to injuries, the official added

SRINAGAR: Unidentified gunmen killed two J&K policemen and decamped with their rifles in two separate incidents in Kashmir Valley on Sunday.

First incident took place in the premises of shrine of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA) in Charar-e-Sharief area of Budgam district, where two gunmen fired at a security guard in the shrine premises and fled with his service rifle.

An unverified video circulated on social media shows the policeman, later identified as constable Kultar Singh of 13th battalion of armed police lying outside the sentry post, injured. A youngster is seen rushing towards him with mobile camera enquiring, what happened. “Two boys came, fired two bullets and fled with my rifle,” the injured policeman narrates, gasping, in the video. Meanwhile, another civilian is seen lifting him up in the arms and rushing towards the vehicle to shift him to hospital. He succumbed at Army’s 92 Base hospital, in Srinagar. Singh, a native of Samba in Jammu is survived by wife and two sons.

“Pained at the loss of a valued colleague SGCt Kultar Singh JKAP 13 Bn who attained martyrdom in an attack on J&K Police guard for protection of Charar - e-shareif shrine,” J&K police chief S P Vaid wrote on social networking site Twitter.

Later in the evening, in another, incident in Soura area in outskirts of Srinagar, unidentified gunmen shot constable Farooq Ahmad Yatoo, who was guarding Hurriyat leader Fazal-ul-Haq Qureshi. They decamped with his service rifle as well. Yatoo, a native of Shopian district of south Kashmir, succumbed to injuries at SKIMS hospital.

“We have lost another precious life…in Srinagar. Be careful boys, it’s the proxy war that we are fighting in J&K,” Vaid wrote in second tweet.

Qureshi is member of the executive council of Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and has himself, survived a deadly attack in 2009, when unidentified gunmen fired at him outside a masjid near his house. He was bed ridden for few years and has still not recuperated completely. The attack took place, when Government of India had initiated ‘quite dialogue’ with Hurriyat leaders, an exercise which New Delhi, dumped within few months.

In last three years, J&K government statistics reveal that 251 weapons including AK-47, SLR and INSAS rifles were snatched in the state and 90 people were arrested in these cases.

The trend of snatching weapons started picking up after killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016, when many youngsters wanted to join militancy. Due to paucity of weapons, they could not manage their direct entry into the militant ranks. Many of them started snatching weapons from armed forces especially police officials. This served two purposes for militant organizations; it addressed the problem of shortage of weapons and also gave youngsters a chance to prove their commitment, ahead of joining the militant ranks. Besides, it minimized their chances of return.