Five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel (CRPF) were killed in a fidayeen attack on the paramilitary forces camp in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district Sunday morning.
Two militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)— Manzoor Ahmad Baba of Drubgam Pulwama and Fardeen Ahmad Khanday of Tral— also died in the gunfight at Lethpora. The heavily armed militants stormed into CRPF camp in the early hours Sunday. Three other CRP personnel were also injured during the gunfight, however, they were said to be stable.
The militants attacked the 185-th battalion camp round 2 am. “Two heavily armed militants stormed the camp at about 2 am. They were armed with under-barrel grenade launchers and automatic weapons. They were challenged by camp sentries,” CRPF officials said.
“The two militants are holed up in one building block in the camp and operation is underway to neutralise militants,” said a senior official earlier in the day.
The camp also serves as training centre for troops inducted for counter-militancy operations in Kashmir Valley. A Police team is also co-located with CRPF in this camp.
“The militants attacked the camp from the backside,” said an official. Four slain CRPF men were identified as constable Sharief-u-din Ganie, a resident of Chadoora area of Budgam, head constable Tufail resident of Rajouri district—both are from 185 CRPF Bn— constable Rajender Nain of 130 Battalion, a resident of Churu district in Rajasthan and Pradeep Kumar Panda of 132 Bn, resident of Odhissa.
According to CRPF spokesperson Rajesh Yadav, the fifth CRPF man Inspector Kuldip Rai of Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, died of cardiac arrest. Rai was from CRPF’s 2nd signal battalion and was currently attached to 185 CRPF battalion.
Of the three injured constables Narender, 185 Bn, sustained bullet injuries on his muscle and constable Malve Samadhan, 185 Bn, sustained bullet injuries on his right shoulder. The third one was identified as Mala Ram of 49 Bn QAT. They were admitted to Army’s 92 base hospitals in Srinagar and were said to be out of danger.
The militants engaged in firing with forces for more than 12 hours. “Two militants rushed out of the building firing indiscriminately and both of them were killed there,” police said.
They said that bodies of both the militants were retrieved from the site of gunfight.
The CRPF camp is situated at the base of a hill, l around 1 kilometre from Srinagar – Jammu National Highway. The camp houses a training centre and a number of residential buildings surrounded by a concrete wall.
Police sources said that they had already received an input that militants will be carrying an attack on the camp and it was communicated to CRPF.
The forces had intensified searches in various villages of south Kashmir after Samboora encounter on 26 December, in which a Jaish commander, Noor Mohammad was killed.
According to CRPF spokesman the gunfight was on till late evening. “Tight cordon would be maintained around the area where the operation is going on,” he said. Some media reports, however, said that three militants were killed.
“We are confirming killing of two militants only. When forces were trying to move in, the militants opened fire again. So, there is a probability of presence of one or two militants still inside the building,” CRPF spokesman said.