Militants gun down paramilitary trooper in Srinagar (Lead)

September 13th, 2008 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 13 (IANS) Separatist guerrillas Saturday opened fire from point blank range at a paramilitary trooper killing him on the spot in this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said.The police said S.N. Matapatti of 161 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) battalion was gunned down when suspected militants fired pistol shots at him in the old city’s Sekidafar area in the afternoon.

“The trooper had gone to purchase fruits when militants fired at him from a very close range. He died on the spot,” a police spokesman told IANS.

The paramilitary and police personnel cordoned off the area to look for the attackers but no one was arrested.

None of the militant groups operating in the terror-torn valley claimed responsibility for the killing.

Violent pro-freedom protests for the last nearly three months have rocked the Muslim-majority valley after controversial government order of allotting 40 hectares of forest land to a Hindu temple board.

More than 50 people have been killed, mostly in police and paramilitary firing, during the stir over the bitter Amarnath land dispute.

This is the first case of militant initiated violence since the protests over the Amarnath land erupted. The guerrillas, who have been fighting in Kashmir since the two decade old Pakistan sponsored insurgency started in 1989, were silent during the nearly three months of unrest, which has renewed secessionist sentiments in the valley.

Also Saturday, the police clashed with pro-freedom protesters the Maisuma, Habba Kadal and Amira Kadal localities of Srinagar.

The violence led to closure of shops and business establishments in the city centre Lal Chowk.

Police fired tear smoke and baton charged to quell the protests.

Curfew continues in Baramulla and Shopian towns following the Friday violence that left two dead and over 80 wounded.

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