Four civilians were killed and six others injured when suspected terrorists opened fire on three houses of a particular community in a village in Jammu and Kashmir's border district of Rajouri Sunday evening, officials said.
This was the first such attack in the past many years in the otherwise peaceful Jammu region and coincided with the first day of the New Year. Additional Director General of Police, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh said police, along with the Army and the CRPF, have launched a massive search operation to nab the two “armed men” behind the attack at Upper Dangri village, about eight kilometres from Rajouri town.
Firing lasted 10 minutes, death toll of four
“Firing took place at three houses, separated at a distance of around 50 metres from each other. Two civilians have succumbed to injuries and four others are injured,” Singh said. However, officials said two more injured civilians succumbed to injuries, taking the death toll to four.
Quoting eyewitnesses, the officials said two suspected terrorists appeared in the village around 7 pm and opened indiscriminate firing on three houses and fled. “The firing ended within 10 minutes. First, they attacked a house in Upper Dangri and then they moved 25 meters away and shot several people there. They also fired on another house 25 meters away from the second house while fleeing the village,” an official said.
J&K | Two civilians dead and four others are injured in the firing that took place at 3 houses separated at a distance of around 50 metres from each other at upper Dangri village in Rajouri. Search operation has been launched in the area: ADGP Jammu Mukesh Singh— ANI (@ANI) January 1, 2023
(File pic) pic.twitter.com/lnnuZRT1VI
He said a total of 10 persons were hit by the bullets and three of them were declared brought dead at the Government Medical College hospital Rajouri, while another critically injured succumbed while being airlifted to Jammu along with two other injured persons.
The deceased have been identified as Satish Kumar (45), Deepak Kumar (23), Pritam Lal (57) and Shishu Pal (32), the official said. The injured have been identified as Pawan Kumar (38), Rohit Pandit (27), Saroj Bala (35), Ridham Sharma (17) and Pawan Kumar (32), he said.
Medical Superintendent of Government Medical College (GMC) Rajouri, Dr Mehmood H Bajar, confirmed the death of four persons in the firing and said among the injured, two were airlifted to Jammu for specialised treatment.
'Major security lapse'
Deeraj Kumar, sarpanch of Dangri, said gunshots were heard around 7 pm and after some time their intensity increased. Later, I received calls that there was firing by terrorists, he added.
Kumar said it was after a long time that targeted killings were carried out in the area. He termed the incident as a major security lapse. There was already a threat perception and searches too were conducted in some areas of the district, he added.
Attack triggers panic, protests
The incident caused panic and protests were held with several organisations including traders’ bodies calling for a general strike in the district on Monday. Additional deployments have been made in sensitive areas as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order, the officials said.
A group of people, who gathered outside GMC hospital Rajouri, shouted slogans against Pakistan and terrorists for the innocent killings. Protesters also shouted slogans against the Lt Governor administration and security agencies for not tackling the threat of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists effectively, eyewitnesses said.
The officials said security forces are conducting a massive search but there was no trace of the assailants so far. The incident comes barely two weeks after two civilians were killed in a firing incident outside an army camp in the town.
While the army had blamed unidentified terrorists for killing the two civilians heading for work inside the camp, the local villagers alleged that the duo were killed by the sentries deployed at the gates of the camp and demanded an impartial inquiry into the incident.
(With inputs from PTI)