Four killed, 13 injured in Srinagar firing

Srinagar, Nov 14 | Updated: Nov 15 2005, 05:30am hrs
Militants on Monday struck in Lal Chowk, nerve centre of the city, killing two CRPF men and two civilians, wounding 13 others including a foreign journalist, official sources said. The ultras hurled a grenade at the CRPF company headquarters in Palladium chowk and then fired at security forces and at the clock tower nearby, triggering a gunbattle at around 3.15 pm, they said.

While four persons were killed so far in the attack, 11 civilians including a Japanese scribe Takeshi and two CRPF jawans were injured, sources said. Within no time, Lal Chowk turned into a ghost area, with people as also shopkeepers running for cover in panic. All business establishments and shops downed shutters, and traffic came to a standstill.

Security forces have cordoned off the area. So far, no militant outfit has claimed responsibility.

The focus of our operation at the moment is to evacuate all civilians in the area to safety, director general of police Gopal Sharma said on phone from Jammu. As forces tried to repulse the attack, the attackers, whose exact number could not be ascertained, took positions in nearby hotels and fired intermittently. The busy Lal Chowk usually has huge crowds that provide an easy cover for attackers to make good their escape.

In August this year, militants carried out a sensational strike on Bombay-Gujarat hotel in the nearby Badshah Chowk while then minister of state for education Syed Bashir Ahmed escaped an attempt on his life at the same place in June.