3-Day Pampore gunfight ends as security forces shell EDI building

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Pampore: Security forces have shelled a five-storey Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) at Pampore in south Kashmir and neutralized a group of militants bringing an end to the 48-hour standoff in which five soldiers and a civilian have been killed.

Three militants had taken refuge there after ambushing a convoy of paramilitary soldiers on Saturday.  

Shortly before the start of the encounter, more than 100 people mostly employees were rescued while five security men including two Army Captains, a civilian and three militants were killed. Less than a dozen Para-military troopers were also wounded. 

Those killed include Abdul Gani Mir of Gundipora Pulwama, JKEDI gardener, captain Pawan Kumar of 10-Para regiment belonging to Jind (Haryana), captain Tushar Mahajan of 9-Para regiment belonging to Udhampur town of Jammu region, Lance naik Om Prakash of 9-para regiment, head constable Bhola Prasad and driver constable R. K. Rana, both belonging to the CRPF.

According to the Defence spokesperson, Colonel NN Joshi, the identity of the three slain militants was not established yet. “The operation ended after the killing of all the three militants,” he said. “The building is being sensitized and search operation is underway. Huge cache of arms and ammunitions has been recovered from the damaged building.”

With the heavy presence of police, Army and Para-military Central Reserve Police Force life in Saffron town Pampore was disrupted as the gunfight between the forces and the militants took the centre-stage. It was a curfew-like situation on Srinagar-Jammu highway as whole area was sealed. Soon after the militants sneaked into the building on Saturday, the area rattled with the gunfire and wore a battlefield look.

Intermittent firing continued throughout the night and the militants kept on changing their positions in the building. “Government Forces targeted the building with UBGL grenades and rockets that resulted in heavy damage of the building. 

Shortly after the operation ended, top police, CRPF and Army brass including GoC Victor Force arrived at the spot to assess the situation. 

Confirming the killing of the three militants, GoC Victor Force lauded the role of soldiers who according to him put their best to neutralize the militants.

Meanwhile, the Pampore town of district Pulwama witnessed massive protests today and tried to march towards the encounter site. However, police stopped them which resulted in pitched battles. Police fired tear smoke shells and pellet fires to quell the protests. More than a dozen protestors have been reported injured. District hospital Pampore confirmed that eight people have suffered pellet injuries and are being treated in the hospital.

People, in large numbers in Pampore and other parts of South Kashmir, took to streets and staged pro-freedom protests. Shutdown was observed in Pampore, Sambora and Kakapora to mourn the death of these militants. 

Reports said that large number of people mostly women were seen witnessing the encounter on river banks in Pampore. Youth blocked the roads and raised pro-freedom slogans. In Pulwama, youth clashed with police and attacked armoured vehicles. A police official confirmed that situation in Pampore and its adjoining areas is tense but under control.

 

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