Srinagar: Four soldiers, six policemen and two civilians were killed in Jammu and Kashmir Thursday in an audacious terror attack that also left three militants presumably from Pakistan dead.
Furious over the nine hours of mayhem, the BJP asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call off his talks with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York Sunday. But he vowed to go ahead with the meeting.
The heavily armed guerrillas first barged into a police station in Jammu region, killing eight people, and then drove off with a truck to attack an army base where they shot dead an officer and three soldiers.
It was one of the worst terror attacks in recent times in Jammu and Kashmir, where a separatist campaign for which India blames Pakistan shows no signs of ending.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the terrorists sneaked into the state from Pakistan in the last 12 hours. He hoped the killings would not derail the India-Pakistan talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The attack began in the morning when the attackers reached a relatively unguarded police station at Hira Nagar in Kathua district, not far from the Pakistan border, lobbing grenades and firing away automatic weapons.
In no time, eight people lay dead: six policemen, a shopkeeper and the driver of a truck parked in the complex. Four others suffered splinter and bullet injuries.
The guerrillas escaped in the truck, drove on the Pathankot-Jammu highway and entered an army unit’s Officers’ Mess in Samba, some 35 km from Jammu, killing Lt. Col. Bikramjeet Singh and three soldiers.
Manmohan Singh said that “such attacks will not deter us and will not succeed in derailing our efforts to find a resolution to all problems through a process of dialogue”.
Conveying his condolences to the families of those killed, he said: “This is one more in a series of provocations and barbaric actions by the enemies of peace.”
In an obvious reference to Pakistan, he said: “We are firmly resolved to combat and defeat the terrorist menace that continues to receive encouragement and reinforcement from across the border.”