CO’s escort personnel killed, 2 terrorists trapped in gunfight at CRPF camp
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU: In 48 hours of a fidayeen attack on Sunjwan Military Station-first in the winter capital after more than 17 years-terrorists on Monday launched a suicide attack on a CRPF formation after a long pause of nearly five years in the interior of the summer capital of Srinagar, even as a paramilitary personnel got killed and two terrorists were trapped in the gunfight in Karan Nagar area.
Official sources said that the sentry at battalion headquarters of CRPF’s 23rd battalion noticed movement of two suspected terrorists attempting to sneak into the camp at 0430 hours. As he shouted on them to stop, both the suspects ran away towards some adjoining buildings. The sentry opened fire but the suspects did not respond to it.
Subsequently, men of CRPF’s 23rd Bn and 49th Bn laid siege to a cluster of abandoned houses of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits close to the formation, around 300 meters from SMHS Hospital. Hiding inside a deserted building, the holed up terrorists opened fire on Majid Khan, escort personnel of Commanding Officer 49th Bn. He was critically injured and later died at a hospital. A constable of Special Operations Group of Srinagar District Police sustained injuries. He was reportedly stable at the hospital.
Intermittent exchange of gunfire and grenades continued for several hours of the day between the holed up terrorists and security forces. At 9:30 PM, when it was heavily snowing in Srinagar and floodlights had been installed at the encounter site, volleys of gunfire and blasts were heard. Officials said that the security forces would conduct room-to-room search operation any time to ascertain whether the two terrorists had got killed or they were still alive and hiding in the building.
Office and residence of DIG CRPF Srinagar (North) Shalender Vikram Singh, besides family quarters of the officers of CRPF’s 49th Bn, are situated on the same formation premises. Officials maintained that neither of the terrorists succeeded in sneaking into the encampment or reaching close to the family quarters. Both the Commanding Officers of CRPF’s 23rd battalion and 49th battalion, namely Alok Srivastava and Harminder Singh, were said to be on leave. Their second-in-command officers were leading the operation.
In its February 11 issue, STATE TIMES had exclusively reported that terrorists were likely to carry out a fidayeen attack on a CRPF camp in or around the summer capital on 34th execution anniversary of the JKLF founder Maqbool Bhat. It had reported that the authorities had received inputs about possibility of a terrorist strike.
Last fidayeen attacks on two CRPF camps in the summer capital of Srinagar had happened in 2013.
Officials maintained that the terrorists failed to sneak into the camp and cause any major damage to the officers and their families after receiving signals of a possible fidayeen attack around February 11. They said that the terrorists had made some fidayeen attempts on the security forces’ camps in the last two years but they had failed to cause much damage.
Identical fidayeen attempts had been made at Tangdar, Sumbal, near Humhama at Srinagar Airport and a CRPF formation in Awantipore. However, all these fidayeen attempts failed due to alertness of the security forces and the terrorists were neutralised without major collateral damage.
On June 24, 2015, two terrorists had intruded into Delhi Public School after attacking security forces outside on the old highway. Both of them were later killed in a fierce gunbattle.
Significantly, today’s fidayeen attempt on a CRPF camp in Karan Nagar came in days of the February 6 shootout in which a top ranking Pakistani commander, Naveed alias Abu Hanzallah of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba managed to escape from judicial custody while killing two personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police at SMHS Hospital. Hours before, suspected terrorists had looted cash worth Rs 23 lakh from an ATM situated at a stone’s throw from the CRPF formation as also from SMHS Hospital. All the three incidents occurred within a radius of 300 meters.
Even as security forces and Police for some time believed that Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit was behind all the three incidents, LeT spokesperson Abdullah Ghaznavi claimed in a press release that his organisation had carried out the attack on the CRPF formation in Srinagar.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper