SRI NAGAR: Ahead of the Monday re-opening of Civil Secretariat, security personnel foiled a major attack in Srinagar by eliminating three Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, including two of foreign origin, in a seven-hour encounter
Soon, clashes broke out during which a police vehicle allegedly ran over a youth, Adil Ahmad, at Noorbagh area, about 3-4 km away from the encounter site. But, the police said Ahmad died in a ‘road accident’ during stone pelting in the area.
In the Saturday’s encounter, the second gunfight in Srinagar this year, four security men, including a CRPF assistant commandant and a Deputy Superintendent of Police, were injured. In February, two militants and a CRPF personnel were killed in an encounter at Karan Nagar. The Army was not involved in the Saturday operation as it took place in Srinagar.
Police said two militants were foreigners and the third was identified as Fayaz Ahmad Hamal, a resident of Fateh Kadal in downtown Srinagar. Hamal had joined Laskhar in April last year.IG, CRPF, Ravideep Singh Sahi told TNIE that the police and CRPF men launched a joint combing and search operation in Chattabal area — a few kilometres away from Civil Secretariat — on Saturday morning. Security personnel encircled an under-construction building, where the militants hid. Sahi said the first contact with the militants was established at 4 am and then there was a lull of nearly two hours. “At 6.15 am, the militants again fired on the security personnel. The fire was returned, triggering an encounter. The encounter ended at 1 pm after all the three militants were killed.”
Thee AK-47 rifles and their magazines, UBGL, grenades, a wire cutter, a medical kit and matrix sheets were found at the encounter site. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, SP Pani said the recovery of weapons and other material indicate that the militants planned a major attack.Later, five photo-journalists were injured in clashes at the SMHS hospital after the police took away the body of Ahmad for conducting legal formalities.
Clashes were reported from Chattabal area and other areas of downtown Srinagar. Youths pelted stones on the security men, who fired tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse the protestors. Over 20 protesters sustained injuries, with a majority of them hit by pellets.
“An FIR was registered with the Safa Kadal police station (in connection with the Noorbagh incident). The proceedings have been started against the police vehicle and driver, which was involved in the incident,” Pani said, adding the police was in no way justifying the action.
Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik called for shutdown on Sunday against the militant and civilian ‘killings’ in Srinagar.The state capital and its adjoining areas also observed spontaneous shutdown after the Saturday’s encounter.