J&K encounter ends after 48 hours

J&K encounter ends after 48 hours

J&K encounter ends after 48 hours

The 48-hour-long fierce gun battle on the outskirts of the city ended on Monday evening with the killing of three heavily armed militants holed up in a multi-storey government building on Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

The gunfight which started on Saturday evening left nine people, including three elite commandos of the Army, two paramilitary personnel, one civilian and three militants dead. More than a dozen other troopers have been injured in the attack.

Sources told Deccan Herald that special commandos of the Army made the final assault on the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) building before noon and managed to neutralise all the three militants. “The militants used the building as a concrete bunker, firing at security personnel from its cover and shifting location often. The Army used heavy arms in the operation to neutralise them (militants),” they added.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir S J M Gillani confirmed that three militants were killed in the gun battle. “Their bodies have been recovered,” he told reporters, adding the encounter had “emerged as a challenge for the forces.”

However, he didn’t disclose the identity of the slain militants.

General Officer Commanding of Victor Force, Major General Arvind Das said a lot of arms and war-time like ammunition have been recovered from the encounter site. “They were foreign terrorists and were heavily armed. There were a lot of rooms in the building and, hence, the operation took time,” he told reporters.

An army official said a mopping up operation was on with security personnel clearing and sanitising the EDI campus, spread across three wings.

“This was one of the longest encounters in Kashmir in recent years as the building where the militants had taken position was very big. We suffered casualties as the militants were in an advantageous position,” he said.

The attack began on Saturday when militants shot at a Central Reserve Police Force bus before taking shelter in the EDI complex. More than 100 people were inside the complex at the time, who were later evacuated by the security forces.

On Sunday, two captains and a soldier of special forces were killed while a gardener died in the initial crossfire.

A senior police officer told Deccan Herald that before attacking the CRPF convoy and taking shelter in EDI complex, the militants had done at least three recces. “It was a heavily armed and highly trained group of militants who were carrying some eatables along to sustain for a longer period. It was a pre-planned move by the militants to first attack a convoy and then take shelter in the tall EDI building,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the gunfire raged on, hundreds of local residents came onto the streets defying restrictions in several localities of Pampore town.

The authorities had imposed restrictions in Pampore where dozens of protesters on Sunday indulged in heavy stone pelting as they tried to march towards the gunfight site.
The youths hurled rocks at the police and paramilitary forces, reports said, adding that the forces dispersed them by firing tear gas canisters.

Meanwhile, the wreath-laying ceremonies of Captain Tushar Mahajan and Lance Naik Om Prakash, who were killed in the encounter, were conducted at the Army’s Chinar headquarters here on Monday, while captain Pawan Kumar’s last rites were reportedly performed at his village in Haryana’s Jind.

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