Gunfight still on; Jaish militants broke into JK Police’s commando training centre in dead of night
Anantnag: The third fidayeen attack in 2017 came on the last day of the year, and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants are likely to stretch that into the new year, with a fierce gunfight still raging at the CRPF camp inside JK Police’s Commando Training Centre (CTC), here in Lethpora area of Pulwama district, on Sunday evening.
Five CRPF personnel and two Jaish militants have been killed so far. Three men of the paramilitary CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) are at army’s Base Hospital in Badami Bagh cantonment of Srinagar, undergoing treatment for the wounds suffered in the daring pre-dawn attack by the Jaish.
“All of them are stable so far,” CRPF spokesperson Rajesh Yadav told Kashmir Reader, while confirming that five CRPF men were killed during the ongoing gunfight.
“Four of them are combat fatalities and one was killed due to a cardiac arrest while being evacuated from the site of the gunfight,” Yadav said.
He did not identify the slain personnel as their next of kin were yet to be informed officially.
According to local reports and officials of the CRPF, heavily armed militants, believed to be three to four in number, stormed the CRPF camp at CTC in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
“The militants used heavy fire and grenade launchers to force their way into the camp. The sentries retaliated but the militants somehow found their way in,” IG CRPF, Ravideep Sahi, told Kashmir Reader.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that they woke up to the sound of heavy fire at about 2:05 AM.
“The firing and mortar shelling has been going on since then, with a brief halt in the late afternoon. Now the firing has intensified again,” locals said.
Sahi said that two of the militants have been neutralised while efforts are on to gun down the third one, holed up in one of the three buildings that house the CRPF troopers.
“The gunfight is on as of now,” Sahi said. “Bodies of two militants have been retrieved so far.”
Yadav said that both the militants were locals with one of them being identified as Manzoor Ahmad Baba son of Ali Mohammad Baba, resident of Drubgam Pulwama, while the other militant identified as Fardeen Ahmad Khanday son of Ghulam Mohammad Khanday of Nazneen Pora, Tral.
Sources told Kashmir Reader that the family of a police constable from Hayena area of Tral had been called in for identification of a militant’s body.
Soon after the attack, JeM issued a statement to a local news agency, claiming that it carried out the attack.
“The blood of martyrs is yielding results,” the JeM said in its statement.
“Talha Rasheed, Mohammad Bhai, Noor Mohammad Tantray and all other martyrs of Kashmir are not heirless. Such attacks will continue till the last Indian soldier leaves Kashmir,” the JeM said.
Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid said during the day that there were prior “inputs” regarding the attack.
“There was an input in the last two to three days. The militants were trying. They probably could not get a place and time earlier. So, they struck last night,” Vaid said at a press briefing in Srinagar.
The two other fidayeen attacks this year took place on August 26, when militants stormed the District Police Lines in Pulwama. Ten persons were killed in that attack: four policemen, four CRPF personnel, and 2 militants. Then, on October 3, militants entered a BSF base at Srinagar airport. A BSF official and two militants were killed while three personnel of the BSF were injured.