SRINAGAR - In yet another major strike, Fidayeen this evening stormed the heavily fortified police control room (PCR) here. Army was called out after a 4-member Fidayeen squad gate crashed into the sprawling complex killing two policemen and wounding eight others including a superintendent of police. Lashkar-e-Taiba owning responsibility for the attack, said it was carried out in retaliation to the recent spate of custodial killings.
According to reports, a 4-member Fidayeen squad in police uniforms forced their way to the main gate of the high-security PCR, the nerve centre of the state police in the summer capital, at around 7.10 p.m. hurling grenades and firing indiscriminately on the security guards. A policeman died on the spot while eight others sustained injuries. One of them later succumbed to his injuries. The deceased were identified as head constable Mohan Lal and constable Zahoor Ahmad.
Seven of the injured personnel were identified as superintendent of police, Jalla, and constables, Rai Singh, Bashir Ahmad, Nazir Ahmad, Manzoor Ahmad, Darshan Lal and Akhtar Husain. Eighth policeman whose identity could not be ascertained immediately had been admitted in the police hospital within the complex. Jalla had received a bullet in-jury in his hand and was stated to be out of danger.
When contacted, the superintendent of police, PCR, G H Bhat, told Kashmir Observer one militant was killed in the retaliatory fire immediately after they stormed into the complex. Police believed only one more militant, and not three as was reported, was holed up in the single storied building adjacent to the main PCR building. Bhat said the building houses the two PCR munshis (clerks). However, he put the number of injured policemen at four only.
While the army had laid the outer cordon around the huge complex, Bhat said, the central reserve police force (CRPF) and SOG personnel had launched an operation to flush out the-holed up militant. At least eight police personnel who had been present in the building when the militants sneaked into it, were rescued, he added.
Meanwhile, agency reports said, intermittent exchange of fire was going on when the reports last came in inside the complex which, apart from the PCR, houses the headquarters of the 3rd. 4th, 5th, 7th, and 11th battalions of the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police, besides the police telecommunication centre, forensic science laboratory (FSL) and police hospital. Army had surrounded the entire complex, particularly the building in which the militants were holed up.
Citing an unidentified body in the PCR premises, an armoured vehicle of the border security force (BSF) approached the spot at9.15p.m. The body was believed to be that of the slain militant, However, the vehicle had to stage a hasty retreat after it came under heavy fire from the holed up militant.
Quoting a Lashkar spokesman from Pakistan, a CNS report identified the Fidayeen as Salahuddin, who led the group, Abu Hafiz, Abdullah Umar and Abu Mu'aavia. Meanwhile, a NAFA report said the security forces began shelling the building around 11.45 p.m. after which heavy exchange of fire was heard from a distance of three to four kilometres.
(KASHMIR OBSERVER, 10 February, 2001)
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.