Two gunmen opened fire on Tuesday in a hospital in India-held Kashmir where a suspected 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 suspected militant 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 told AFP.
The trio escaped on a motorcycle and were still at large. Police have set up roadblocks and fanned out in search teams across Srinagar.
Jutt was second in command of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group at the time of his arrest.
The group is active in India-held 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 held 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.
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.