A paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) man was killed and a policeman injured in an ongoing gunfight between militants and forces in Karan Nagar area of uptown Srinagar on Monday. The gunfight erupted after the CRPF men foiled militants attempt to storm their camp.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir), Swayam Prakash Pani, who took over as IGP today, said an on-duty sentry of the CRPF camp in Karan Nagar area noticed a suspicious movement in the early hours today and challenged the suspects.
“The sentry basically repulsed the fidayeen attack. After failing to storm the CRPF camp, militants took shelter in a nearby under construction building near the perimeter fence of the camp,” he said.
Sources said the militants carrying bags and AK rifles were spotted by sentry approaching the 23rd bn CRPF camp at Karan Nagar area, which is barely one and a half kilometre away from civil secretariat Srinagar.
“The sentry fired towards suspected militants, forcing them to take shelter in a nearby multi-story house.
Subsequently, the entire area was cordoned off by SOG and CRPF men to track down militants,” they said.
The operation against militants is being conducted jointly by SOG and CRPF men.
IGP said during the searches, militants fired from the building and the fire was returned, triggering a gunfight.
CRPF spokesperson, Rajesh Yadav said during the exchange of fire, a CRPF man was injured.
He said injured trooper identified as Mujahid Khan of 49 bn was evacuated to hospital, where he succumbed to injuries. .
A policeman was also injured in the gun battle.
The injured cop was identified as PSO Javid Ahmed.
IGP said the civilians residing near the encounter site were evacuated to safer places by security personnel.
The gunfight is taking place in the vicinity located behind the SMHS hospital, where last week two policemen were killed in a militant attack during which top Lashkar-e-Toiba militant, Naveed Jhatt escaped from the police captivity. Jhatt was brought for medical check-up to the hospital last week and escaped after the militant attack.
Witnesses said intermittent and heavy gunfire was going on late evening.
They said forces fired from machine guns and used heavy ammunition to end the resistance of the militants.
However, there was no word from police and CRPF whether any of the holed-up militant was killed in the gunfight.
IG CRPF Ravideep Sahi said troops have not recovered body of any militant till evening.
“The operation against militants will continue during the night,” they said.
The militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“The fighters continue to seize control of the stronghold in Karan Nagar,” Lashkar spokesperson Abdullah Ghaznavi said in an e-mailed statement to newspapers.
After the gunfight broke out, police sealed all routes leading towards Karan Nagar and traffic was stopped.
Witnesses said some youth gathered near the encounter site initially and chanted pro-militant slogans. They said mild protests and stone pelting was witnessed at Nawab Bazar area.
However, the policemen dispersed the protestors.