Jammu: A civilian and three security personnel were killed on Friday when two heavily-armed militants stormed a police station in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir before being gunned down, police said.
The attackers were killed over seven hours after they barged into the Rajbagh police station complex in Kathua district after gunning down the lone guard at the main gate, police officials said.
Armed with automatic weapons and grenades, the militants, dressed in military fatigue, carried out the sudden attack at around 6 a.m.
Once the attackers sneaked into the complex, about 65 km from Jammu on the highway to Pathankot and just 15 km from the Pakistan border, they opened fire at a building occupied by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), killing two of its men.
A civilian was also killed but it was not clear in what circumstances. Ten others, almost all of them security personnel, suffered varying injuries in the audacious attack.
Inspector General of Police Danish Rana announced the death of the two militants. The others dead were a policeman, two CRPF personnel and a civilian.
The injured included seven CRPF men, a deputy superintendent of police, a police constable and a civilian, Rana added.
The deputy superintendent was identified as Diwakar Singh, who sustained a bullet injury on his shoulder.
The injured were hurriedly shifted to Jammu for treatment.
Police, paramilitary and army reinforcements rushed to the site once the attack became known but they had to be cautious as many CRPF personnel were caught up inside the building which the militants had entered.
Amid covering fire provided by security forces from the outside, the trapped CRPF personnel managed to leave the building.
This took time. It was finally around 1.30 p.m. that the authorities made the final assault on the now isolated building, killing the two attackers.
“Searches are on to ensure that no other militant is hiding there,” an officer said.
As the gun battle between the militants and security forces raged, traffic on the highway was halted.
All schools in Kathua district were hurriedly ordered shut. All school examinations scheduled in the district were postponed.
“It is likely that the attackers crossed the Pakistan border recently,” an intelligence officer told IANS.
This was the first terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir after a coalition government of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party took power on March 1.
The attack rocked the state assembly. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh made a statement in the house.
In the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: “We share the grief of the families of the police officers and the civilian killed by the terrorists.”
Twelve people were killed on September 26, 2013 when guerrillas had attacked Hiranagar police station also in Kathua district and then entered an army camp on the Jammu-Pathankot highway.