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30-hour Srinagar gunfight ends

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
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A more than 30-hour gun battle between Indian forces and militants in Karan Nagar area of Srinagar ended on Tuesday with the killing of two militants.

The militants, whose identity is yet to be ascertained, were holed-up in an under-,construction five-storey building since Monday morning, after they were spotted before the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Battalion headquarters at Karan Nagar.

The gun battle had continued through the night as gunshots along with grenade sounds were audible from several kilometers away from the gunfight site.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani, said that the two militants killed belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). “Whatever materials we have recovered from the encounter site suggest that they (militants) are from LeT,” Pani told reporters in a joint press conference with IG CRPF Kashmir at Police Control Room Srinagar.

Government authorities on Monday had imposed restrictions in several areas of the old city fearing protests near the site of the gun battle. All roads leading towards Gole-Market Karan Nagar were sealed by government forces by installing barbed wires at the entry and exit points. No one was allowed to pass, even through narrow lanes, towards the encounter site.

People, espically patients and ambulances drivers, faced difficulties in reaching the SMHS hospital. They were diverted to longer routes by government forces deployed at the four-way near SMC office.

Journalists were also barred from covering the gun battle from close location. Forces were seen clearing the crowds that gathered at the four-way near SMC office.

Terming the Karan Nagar operation as clean and without collateral damage, Pani said that the militants were killed after a deliberate assault plan prepared by police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) and CRPF was executed.

The first militant was killed on Monday forenoon and the policemen deployed on the spot confirmed it. The pictures of his dead body lying on the veranda of the building where he was trapped went viral on social media.

The second militant was killed in the afternoon when the final assault was launched. CRPF troopers who were part of the operation displayed victory signs from windowpanes of their bullet-proof vehicles after killing the second militant.

As the operation was in a congested locality, Pani said, the government forces immediately vacated the entire area. “We thank the citizens of Srinagar city as they cooperated with us,” Pani said, adding, “Because of the help of the community we could take out the civilians from the encounter sight and subsequently the deliberate assault plan which was planned by CRPF and SOG jointly was launched.”

“CRPF personnel achieved martyrdom during the initial exchange of fire and a police constable was injured,” Pani said. “The police constable is admitted in SMHS hospital and his condition is stable.”

Inspector General of CRPF Srinagar, Ravideep Sahi, told reporters that that the two bodies of the militants along with arms and ammunition have been recovered from the encounter site. “Two AK-47 assault rifles and eight magazines were recovered from the site,” Sahi said.

Providing the details of the encounter, Sahi said that government forces rescued five CRPF personnel’s families along with a few civilians. “Once the sanitisation (process) of the area was done, the operation was launched,” he added.

Sahi said that an alert guard belonging to 23 battalion of CRPF challenged militants when he noticed suspicious movement in the wee hours of Monday.

Answering the question whether there are reports of more militants present in Srinagar or inputs of more attacks, Sahi replied that government forces were on alert. Sahi did not answer the question whether there were any previous inputs related to this attack.

When asked whether the militants were non-locals or locals, Pani said that he cannot answer the question unless the militants’ identity was ascertained.

Police on Tuesday issued an advisory and erected a banner outside the encounter site asking people not to go closer to the area till it is cleaned off any left-over explosives. 

A banner reads, “Don’t cross the line. Site is being sanitized.”
 
Major attacks in Srinagar
 
November 3, 1999: Fidayeen attacked army corps headquarters in Badami Bagh Srinagar in which 10 army men were killed.

February 9, 2001: Police control room attacked at Batmaloo Srinagar in which a policeman was killed and eight others were injured.

October 1, 2001: J&K assembly was attacked by Jaish-e-Muhammad fidayeen. Three fidayeen rammed their SUV into the assembly complex. Thirty-eight people including civilians and employees died in the attack.

April 6, 2005: A day before the bus from Srinagar to Muzaffarabad was to be flagged off, two militants attacked the Tourist Reception Centre Srinagar.

October 5, 2006: Five policemen, two CRPF men, two militants and one civilian killed in Fidayeen attack at Budshah Chowk in the heart of Srinagar.

March 31, 2013: Attack on CRPF camp at Bemina; five CRPF men and two militants were killed.

June 24, 2013: Eight army soldiers killed in attack on military convoy at Hyderpora, Srinagar.

February 22, 2016: Two fidayeen stormed into EDI building on Srinagar outskirts killing an army captain and two para commandos.

August 15, 2016: A CRPF commandant was killed in a fidayeen attack in Srinagar’s Nowhatta area, two hours before an Independence Day parade. Eight CRPF personnel and a police constable were also injured in the attack.

October 10, 2016: Two militants again took shelter in EDI building leading to an encounter. Both killed.

June 25, 2017: Two militants attacked a CRPF vehicle and then entered Delhi Public School at Pantha Chowk by-pass in Srinagar.

September 1, 2017: Policeman killed and four others injured in a militant ambush at Zewan.

October 3, 2017: Three fidayeen and a BSF ASI killed when militants stormed a BSF camp at Humhama close to Srinagar Airport.

November 17, 2017: A police sub-inspector and a militant killed in a shoot-out at Zakoora.

Feb 6, 2018: Two cops killed at SMHS hospital.