Srinagar, Feb 13: Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, who were holed up in a building near battalion headquarters of CRPF in Karan Nagar area of Srinagar, were killed on Tuesday in more than 27 hour-long encounter with security forces.
A CRPF jawan from Bihar Mujahid Khan was also killed in the encounter and another was injured on Monday.
Meanwhile, Director General of Police Dr S P Vaid in a tweet said “Two bodies of militants recovered so far with weapons. Well done boys by neutralising militants without collateral damage”.
Asserting that the operation was conducted with precision in view of congested civilian population near the encounter site, a senior police officer said no collateral damage was done to any other building near the encounter site.
The CRPF constable, who attained martyrdom, has been identified as Mujahid Khan. The encounter ensued after CRPF alert sentry foiled a fidayeen attack on their camp early on Monday.
“In the wee hours of Monday alert sentry noticed two persons moving towards the CRPF camp of 23 battalion at Karan Nagar under suspicious circumstance. When the sentry challenged them, the suspects fled from the spot and the planned attack was foiled,” newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) S P Pani, flanked by IG CRPF Ravideep Sahi and other senior officials, told reports during a press conference.
Subsequently, he said there was a cordon and search operation launched by police and CRPF in the area. “They started searching the houses… while the search was going on fire came from an under-construction building at around 0930 hrs on Monday. The building was immediately cordoned off and operation against the militants was initiated,” he said.
However, he said in the initial exchange of fire one CRPF jawan was killed while a policeman was injured. “The the operation ended in the afternoon after both the militants were killed,” he said.
Pani said arms and ammunition has been recovered from the encounter site. “Initial investigation and examination of weapons suggest that the militants belong to LeT,” he said.
He also thanked people of the city for cooperating with security forces during the operation.
“Since the operation was in a very congested area all the civilian population shifted from the area. We thank the citizen of Srinagar city for cooperating with us. Because of the help of the local community we were able to evacuate the civilians from the encounter site,” he said.
The IGP Kashmir said the identity of the militants is being ascertained. “We will not be able to give the details of the militants as their identity is being ascertained. We can’t say whether they are locals or foreigners,” he added.
Meanwhile, the IG CRPF said that five CRPF families living in the camp and some locals were rescued before a full-fledged operation was launched against the militants.
Official sources said that security forces used UBGL and mortars besides explosives to blast the concrete under construction building as militants were often changing their position from one room to another. Intermittent firing could be heard during the night.
The entire area was cordoned off. All roads, in the area were closed for any traffic or pedestrian movement. The main road to down town, including SMHS hospital from civil lines, was also closed for any traffic. Vehicles were directed to take alternative routes, including Qamarwari and Khanyar areas.
On Monday, security forces had to burst teargas shells to disperse large number of people who had gathered near the encounter site.
This was the first encounter after a top militant of Naveed Jatt alias Abu Hanzala of Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) escaped from SMHS hospital in the Karan Nagar area, where he was brought for treatment from Central Jail, Srinagar on February 7 after two police personnel, escorting the detainees, were killed.
However, police later arrested two militants and as many Over Ground Workers (OGWs) who helped Naveed to escape. A day later, Rs 35 lakh was looted from an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) of State Bank of India (SBI) in the area.