Srinagar: The security forces on Monday foiled an attempt made by heavily armed militants to storm a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp at Sumbal, about 25-km north of Srinagar, after killing all the four members of a ‘fidayeen’ squad.
“The heavily armed militants tried to enter the 45 Battalion headquarters of the CRPF at Sumbal in Bandipora district after cutting the Concentra wire fencing and shooting at the sentry, officials said. They also lobbed several hand grenades to force their entry into the camp at around 4.10 am, they added.
“The sentry of the camp retaliated to the fire. In the meantime, Bandipora police reached the spot where exchange of fire was going on. In the retaliation, four foreign militants were killed. The identification of these slain militants is being ascertained,” a statement issued by the J&K police here said. Four AK rifles with 12 magazines and 140 rounds of ammunition, seven UBGL grenades and 9 hand grenades were recovered from the encounter site, the police said.
Earlier Director General of J&K Police, Shesh Paul Vaid tweeted, “45 Bn @crpfindia/@JmuKmrPolice killed 4 terrorists at Sumbal #Bandipore who were attempting suicidal attack on CRPF camp”.
CRPF Deputy Inspector General M Dinakaran said that the militants kept firing as they tried to enter the camp. “But the attack was effectively repulsed by the CRPF sentry and the Sumbal Police,” he said.
Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, said in New Delhi that militants intended a prolonged siege and extensive damage as apart from being heavily armed with automatic rifles and grenades they were also carrying incendiary material such as petrol and dry rations. “It indicated that the terrorists intended a prolonged siege and extensive damage,” he said in a statement. He added, “The sentries responded with alacrity and returned their fire. Heavy exchange of fire took place during which the terrorists lobbed more than two dozen grenades in an attempt to escape.”
The Home Minister also said that as the CRPF in cooperation with force from the adjoining Jammu and Kashmir Police camp showed exemplary courage and valour by shooting dead all the four terrorists they deserved to be cited for this “alertness and unmatched bravery.” The statement said, “It is inspiring to see CRPF men staying awake all night and maintaining tight vigil, and to see the Jammu and Kashmir Police coming to the CRPF's assistance quickly. Their joint efforts have brought glory to our forces. They need to be cited for their alertness and unmatched bravery".
Sumbal and its neighbourhood witnessed street clashes between irate mobs of youth and the security forces following the encounter whereas a spontaneous strike to mourn and protest the killing of militants closed the marketplaces and transport services. The police and the CRPF fired teargas and pepper gas canisters and exploded stun grenades to quell the stone-pelting mobs, reports said. A police officer said that a mob also attacked the local police stations. Amid tensions, mobile phone and Internet services were suspended in the area.
Meanwhile, the police on Monday detained pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Muhammad Yasin Malik whereas another prominent separatist leader and Kashmir's Chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest to foil a joint meet of the separatist parties. The meet convened at the residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani at Hyderpora here was to discuss the recent raids on the homes and offices of second-rung separatist leaders and some businesses houses in Srinagar, Delhi and Haryana by National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The NIA had during the weekend raided 14 locations in Kashmir and eight in Delhi and Haryana's Sonepat in connection with alleged terror funding. The raids were conducted after the NIA registered cases in connection with alleged hawala operations between Pak-based terror groups and Kashmiri separatists, officials had said.
The separatists strongly denied receiving any foreign funding and alleged that the government was making false claims in order to defame the Kashmiri ‘freedom struggle’. “The NIA raids as a policy of witch-hunt and terrorization launched by New Delhi are to defame and weaken the people’s political struggle and simultaneously cripple the economy of the Valley," a statement issued by the alliance of key separatist leaders Geelani, the Mirwaiz and Malik had said.
Commenting on Monday’s police action, the Mirwaiz said, “It has become a norm for the State authorities not to allow the resistance leadership to meet as they have to keep up the farce of ‘normalcy’ through repression at the bidding of their masters in New Delhi or otherwise they will be shown the door by them”.
“The raids conducted by the Indian agencies are meant to intimidate and harass pro-freedom leaders and activists. This in turn is Government of India’s acceptance of the fact that it has not been able to politically defeat the people's struggle for freedom in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said in a statement.
The alliance has called for "peaceful protests" after Friday congregational prayers against the "witch-hunt, coercion and intimidation of resistance activists, leaders and members of the business community."
It said in a statement issued here on Monday, "People will also strongly protest the Indian electronic media's propaganda war against Kashmiris and its shameless attempt to discredit people's freedom struggle."...