Gunmen kill 2 policemen, free militant in Kashmir hospital raid

SRINAGAR, India — Two gunmen opened fire on Tuesday in a hospital in India-administered Kashmir where a Pakistani militant was brought for treatment, escaping with the high-profile prisoner and killing two police officers.

A manhunt is underway after the attackers stormed the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar and opened fire on police guarding Naveed Jutt, a Pakistani rebel imprisoned in the restive province since 2014.

One officer died at the scene while another later succumbed to his injuries in hospital, deputy inspector general of police Ghulam Hassan Bhat said.

The trio escaped on a motorcycle and were still at large. Police have set up roadblocks and fanned out in search teams across Srinagar, the capital of Indian Kashmir.

Jutt was second in command of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group at the time of his arrest.

The Pakistan-based group is active in Indian Kashmir, regularly staging armed assaults on the roughly half a million Indian soldiers deployed in the divided Himalayan territory.

India accuses Pakistan of arming, training and deploying militant groups, including LeT, to foment unrest in the part of Kashmir controlled by New Delhi, where many support the rebel cause.

Islamabad denies the allegations, saying it only provides diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination.

Pakistan and India both control parts of Kashmir but claim the whole of the territory and have fought two of their three wars over it since independence in 1947.

LeT has been blamed for a string of deadly attacks inside India, most notably the Mumbai carnage in November 2008 that left more than 160 people dead on the streets of the financial capital. — AFP