M A I N   N E W S

Srinagar terror drama ends
Cops storm buildings, kill 2 ultras
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 30
With the death of two heavily armed militants, the encounter between the militants and security forces concluded after 24 hours of fierce gunbattle in the Badshah Chowk area here this evening. One person of the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police was injured today, while two security personnel were killed and 21 injured in the encounter last evening.

Briefing mediapersons after the conclusion of the operation, the Director-General of Police, Mr Gopal Sharma, said utmost precautions were taken to prevent any harm to the civilians. He pointed out that it was not a suicidal attack as the militants after initial attack took positions in buildings. The security forces stormed Bombay-Gujarat Hotel this afternoon after the militant there was cornered. The militants resorted to firing at regular intervals, without giving a chance to the security forces to get spotted.

Two militant outfits, Al-Mansoorian and Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, which claimed the responsibility of the attack yesterday, today claimed that four militants, two each from the outfits, had undertaken the attack. This was an “important mission”, a spokesman for the two outfits said, adding injuries to newsmen were not due to their firing.

A police spokesman later told mediapersons that two security personnel were killed while 21 others, including eight security forces personnel, one policeman and six journalists, were injured.

“While maintaining maximum restraint to avoid loss of life and property, the security forces finally eliminated the two terrorists,” the spokesman stated. He added that two AK rifles, seven magazines, one rocket launcher with one rocket, eight hand grenades and some explosives were recovered from the spot.

Soon after the operation concluded, residents of nearby localities took out processions against the security forces. The police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to lathi charge to dispel the demonstrators.

The two militants, whose identity is yet to be ascertained, were hiding in the Fancy Fabrics complex and Bombay-Gujarat Hotel. Shutters and windowpanes of shopping complexes and buildings near the encounter site were damaged.

The DGP said nearly 70 civilians were rescued from different hotels today. They included Mr Parvez Bukhari, correspondent, Star News, and a representative of a vernacular daily. They were held up in Taj Hotel. Two others were rescued after the killing of the militants in Bombay-Gujarat Hotel. Twenty-four persons held up inside the branch of UCO Bank and 11 persons, including two children, in City Centre Hotel were among those rescued.

A BSF spokesman said the militants were believed to be foreigners who had carried out “well-coordinated deadly operation”. It was pre-planned but the security forces, including the BSF, the CRPF and the police, were successful in neutralising them.


Militants using high passes for infiltration
Tribune News Service

An armoured vehicle provides cover to the rescued persons at Badshah Chowk in the heart of Srinagar on Saturday.
An armoured vehicle provides cover to the rescued persons at Badshah Chowk in the heart of Srinagar on Saturday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, July 30
The Centre today said that with mounting pressure on militants in Jammu and Kashmir and the resultant depletion in their strength, terrorist outfits were resorting to desperate terror attacks to create panic and were using difficult and hitherto not used high passes for infiltration into the Valley.

“The recent terrorist attacks in Kashmir clearly reflect their (terrorist groups) desperation to make their presence felt and to create panic among the people,” Mr Anil Chowdhry, Special Secretary in the Union Home Ministry said here.

“The pressure mounted by the security forces in the Kashmir Valley and the elimination of several hardcore militants have resulted in not only depletion of their strength, but also reduction in infiltration...that is why they are resorting to desperate attacks and using high passes like Gurez to infiltrate,” the senior Home Ministry official said.

“The phenomenal increase in tourism in Kashmir and the rejection of terrorism by the people of Jammu and Kashmir has also led to the militant outfits resorting to desperate terror attacks,” he said.

Referring to yesterday’s attack by two Al-Mansoorian militants in Lal Chowk in Srinagar, he said “on the face of it, the attack seems to be a sneak attack and not a fidayeen attack...after hurling grenade at a police jeep, they wanted to escape, but got surrounded by security men.”

Appreciating the security personnel for eliminating the two militants successfully, he said, “though this kind of an operation doesn’t take 24 hours, but we are really happy that the security forces eliminated the two terrorists, who holed into two separate buildings in the crowded Lal Chowk area, without causing any damage to the people in those buildings.”

Asked whether there was any security lapse or intelligence failure which resulted in the terrorists managing to sneak into the area and create terror, Mr Chowdhry shot back saying “there was no security lapse...it is not possible to

check each and every individual moving in the street... in fact, security personnel should be commended for successfully neutralised terrorists without any damage to civilians.”

The Home Ministry official vehemently denied that the Jammu and Kashmir Police and other security forces had stopped carrying out anti-terrorists operations in the past several months, which helped the terrorist groups to reorganise themselves in the Valley.

“It is not correct. In the past couple of months security forces have conducted 60-70 successful operations,” he said.

About yesterday’s attack, he said though the two terrorists had been killed, their identity, whether they were locals or from Pakistan, could not yet been identified.

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