5 CRPF men, 2 Fidayeen killed in Pulwama attack

Security personnel during operation against militants at Letpora, Pulwama on Sunday. Another pic on page 6. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Security personnel during operation against militants at Letpora, Pulwama on Sunday. Another pic on page 6. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Dec 31: In a major worry for the security agencies, Kashmiri militants carried out Fidayeen attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp in South Kashmir, killing 5 CRPF personnel while two of them were later shot dead in the operation.
Special Director General of CRPF, SN Srinvastav, told reporters here this evening that four CRPF personnel were killed in the encounter and two militants were also shot dead in the operation.
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The Special DG said that security agencies had inputs about the possible attack and they were alert and managed to restrict the Fidayeen to two buildings only. “We killed two Fidayeen and in the operation 4 of our men were martyred. They sacrificed lives for the nation”, he said
Srinvastav said that there could be one or more militants hiding inside. “We hope that we will conclude the operation as soon as possible”, he said.
He said that the troops were alert and it was because of the alertness that patrol party engaged and confined them to two buildings only.
The Special DG said that they have sounded an alert in and around all the camps. “We were ready for this attack”, he said.

Wreath laying ceremony of 4 CRPF Jawans, who were killed in an Fidayeen attack on CRPF Training Centre at Letpora, Pulwama. —Excelsior/Shakeel
Wreath laying ceremony of 4 CRPF Jawans, who were killed in an Fidayeen attack on CRPF Training Centre at Letpora, Pulwama. —Excelsior/Shakeel

The militants who were killed in the attack on CRPF training Centre have been identified as Manzoor Ahmad Baba son of Ali Mohammad Baba of Drubgam, Pulwama and Fardeen Ahmad Khanday son of Ghulam Mohammad Khanday, a serving police constable, resident of Nazeen Pora Tral in South Kashmir.
This is for the first time that Kashmiri militants carried out the Fidayeen attack. Normally, Pakistani militants carry out Fidayeen attacks in Kashmir by storming into security forces’ camps. The slain duo, had joined militant ranks only three months ago.
Earlier, in the morning residents in the area heard heavy firing and blasts at mid night when Fidayeen stormed into Training Centre of 185 Batallion of CRPF at Letpora in South Kashmir at around 2:15 a.m.
Sources said that at least three Fidayeen stormed into the camp by firing indiscriminately and lobbed grenades.
The 4-storey building consisted of 3 blocks and block-one was used for officer’s family accommodation, 2nd block as main office while block three as camp and it was targeted by militants.
Soon after the attack, reinforcement of Army’s special forces and SOG rushed to the spot and cordoned off the whole area amid fierce gunfight.
In the initial exchange of gunfight, seven CRPF personnel were injured. The injured were rushed to 92 Base hospital in Badami Bagh Srinagar. Four of the injured succumbed to injuries. They have been identified as constable Sharifudin Gania of Chadoora Budgam, Head Constable Tufail Ahmad of Dadasini Bala Rajouri, Constable Rajindera Nain of Gorisar Churu Rajasthan and Pradeep Kr Panda of Vill-Liploy Rajgangapu Sundargarh Odisha. Inspector Kuldip Roy of Tikkar Khatrain, Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh died of heart attack during the operation.
The three injured constables Narender Kumar, who sustained bullet injuries on his calf muscle, Malve Samadhan (bullet injuries on his right shoulder) and Mala Ram, were admitted in the hospital, were stated to be out of danger.
When the security forces were conducting searches of the rubble inside the camp, militants fired on the troops leading to an encounter. The search operation was suspended and cordon was tightened so that the militants who are still inside may not be able to flee. The operation has been suspended in the wake of darkness.
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti condemned the killing of CRPF personnel. Terming the act as dastardly, the Chief Minister said violence has taken a heavy toll of the society in the State in terms of death and destruction, tearing apart of the social fabric, inflicting massive economic, academic and social losses besides the irreparable loss of human lives.
The Chief Minister paid rich tributes to the jawans of the force killed in the attack. She also conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved families of the martyred men.
In the meantime, Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the the Fidayeen attack.
Meanwhile, Opposition National Conference (NC) today expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in a militant attack on a CRPF camp in Pulwama district of South Kashmir and called it a reminder of how bad things were in the Valley.
“As the year draws to a close we get a terrible reminder of how bad things are in the Valley. My condolences to the families of the CRPF personnel killed in the attack,” NC working president Omar Abdullah wrote in a Twitter post.
Meanwhile, a party statement said NC president Farooq Abdullah and working president Omar Abdullah have expressed profound grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the attack.
The statement said the NC leaders, while extending their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of the martyred CRPF personnel, expressed solidarity with them in their moment of inconsolable loss.