Mobile networks, internet shut down in Bandipora district
Sumbal: Four ‘foreign’ militants, their identity not yet known, were killed in Sumbal town of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district in the wee hours of Monday, police said.
The four militants had tried to storm a 45BN Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) headquarters with the aim “to cause fatal causalities to the CRPF,” an official said.
Police claimed that they prevented this “fidayeen” attack on 45BN CRPF camp located near Irrigation Colony in main town Sumbal. The state’s top police officer wrote on Twitter that the attackers were “attempting a suicidal attack on CRPF camp”. He also “complimented CRPF and JK police for their alertness in preventing the attack.”
Local residents told Kashmir Reader that soon after they had finished eating pre-dawn meals, they heard gunshots. They said that the firing lasted at least two hours.
A police official said that “the militants opened fire on a sentry post, where the attack was repulsed, after which heavy gunfire was exchanged for some time as the militants tried to force their way into the camp. Reinforcements of army and police rushed to cordon the area. After the search ops were conducted, four militants’ bodies were recovered at the break of dawn.”
Police officers told Kashmir Reader that the attack could also have been aimed at the nearby army camp and police station, just a stone’s throw from the targeted CRPF camp on Hajin-Sumbal road.
Police sources suggested that if the militants had been successful in breaking into the camp, it would have resulted in fatal causalities to CRPF personnel.
Four AK-47 assault rifles, one under-barrel grenade launcher (UBGL) and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the slain militants, DGP Shesh Paul Vaid said.
Soon after the operation was over, contingents of CRPF and police were deployed in Sumbal town to prevent public protests. Mobile networks and internet, except state-owned BSNL, were shut in the entire district.
Despite restrictions, clashes broke out in Sumbal town. Witnesses said that “youth took to streets and pelted stones on police station Sumbal. The police from inside the station fired tear smoke shells at the youth.”
Local youth alleged that the encounter had been staged, as they couldn’t see a bullet mark anywhere on the camp. “We went to see the camp and saw not a bullet scratch on the walls or on the tin sheets behind which the militants were said to have taken position,” said Mohammad Elias, a local resident. He further asked why the identity of the militants was not made public.
A complete shutdown was observed in Sumbal town and a partial shutdown in neighbouring Hajin town to protest the killing of the militants.