Cop shot dead in Hyderabad

Friday, May 14, 2010
Charminar Hyderabad

Image via Wikipedia

A policeman was killed and two others were injured when two people on a motorcycle opened fire at a police picket in Hyderabad Friday. The police suspect involvement of a terror operative Vikar Ahmed in the incident.

Eyewitnesses said two people on a motor cycle opened fire on the picket in Shahali Banda, about a kilometre from the historic Charminar and Mecca Masjid, in the Old City area.

The policemen were deployed as part of the security arrangements ahead of the third anniversary of the blast at the Mecca Masjid (May 18). The assailants fled after the attack.

Constable Ramesh, of the Andhra Pradesh Special Police (APSP), died while being taken to Osmania Hospital while two other policemen were being treated for their injuries.

Police chief A.K. Khan told reporters that involvement of Vikar Ahmed alias Viqaruddin alias Ali Khan is suspected. 

Police have put up barricades at several points in the city and started checking vehicles and frisking people.

The incident sent shock waves as it came despite the continuing search operations by police for over a fortnight amid intelligence warnings of possible terror attacks and close on the heels of the arrest of a terror suspect.

On May 3, an alleged terror suspect of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, 34, was held for planning to cause explosions in the city.

Last year, on the second anniversary of the blast, a policeman was killed and another injured in a similar attack when assailants opened fire on police at Falaknuma area of the old city.

The police commissioner said the incident appeared to be linked to the anniversary of bomb blast at the Mecca Masjid. "Yes. We do see similarities with last year's incident," he said. 

Ahmed was also blamed for attack on policemen in Santoshnagar area in 2008. Two policemen were injured when Ahmed and two others accompanying him opened fire as police were trying to arrest them. 

"We can't say for sure that he is behind today's incident, but we suspect his involvement and also of other suspects who are at large," Khan said. 

Police had been on the lookout for Vikar after the Mecca Masjid blast. A resident of Old Malakpet area in the city, he was also associated with a city-based rightwing group Darsgah Jihad-O-Sahadath (DJS) 

Police suspect that Vikar, who had gone to Gulf a few years ago for job, got training in the terror camps abroad. He reportedly visited Oman, Qatar and Bangladesh and developed links with some terror groups. 

On May, 18, 2007, a bomb blast during Friday prayers in the 17th century mosque killed nine people. Five people died in the subsequent police firing on protestors outside the mosque.

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