Srinagar encounter ends after 32 hours, 2 LeT militants killed
New Delhi: A 32-hour gunbattle ended on Tuesday after Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers killed two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants who tried to breach the perimeter wall of a CRPF camp in Srinagar.
The CRPF had foiled an attempt by the terrorists on Monday to break through the boundary wall of the camp in Karan Nagar area. The terrorists then fled and sought refuge in a nearby civilian building, drawing the CRPF into a day-and-a-half long gun-battle.
The attack came just two days after a group of suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants attacked the Indian Army’s Sunjwan camp in Jammu in which five soldiers and a civilian were killed. All four terrorists were killed in the battle.
A CRPF soldier was killed in the initial exchange of fire on Monday.
“We had instructions to minimize casualties on our end. So we acted with restraint and instead of storming the building, the forces killed the terrorists in the exchange of fire itself. No casualties were suffered by CRPF on Tuesday,” said a senior CRPF official, on condition of anonymity.
Intelligence officials said all security establishments, especially those that were family stations and in civilian areas, had been warned.
“Given that this week marked Afzal Guru’s death anniversary, it is no surprise that these attacks happened in quick succession. These are momentous occasions for terror groups and they flex their muscles at Pakistan’s behest. The idea for them is to do such ops on a small scale and in a sporadic manner and kill just three or four security personnel so that damage is minimal for them,” said a senior intelligence official, who did not wish to be named.
While Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday warned that “Pakistan will pay for this misadventure,” Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti voiced a contrary view, saying: “Dialogue is necessary with Pakistan to end bloodshed. We have to talk because war is not an option.”
Defence experts, however, added that while Pakistan was unlikely to change its strategy in Jammu and Kashmir, India would have to continue to exercise a policy of strategic restraint, since going to war is ruled out. “The present government has run out of options. Either we conduct covert operations without making a hue and cry about it and be prepared for Pakistan to retaliate in equal measure, or pin our hopes on bilateral and DGMO (director general of military operations) talks between the two armies,” sai H.S. Panag, a former Indian Army officer and defence expert.
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