5 CRPF men, 2 militants killed in Bemina Fidayeen attack
6 SECURITY PERSONNEL, 4 CIVILIANS INJURED; HIZB CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY
Srinagar, Mar 13: In the first fidayeen attack in Srinagar in three years, militants Wednesday appeared at Bemina here and killed five Central Reserve Police Force personnel while two unidentified militants were also killed in the retaliatory fire. At least six other CRPF personnel and four civilians were injured in the attack. The target of fidayeen, police said, was a CRPF camp near Police Public School.
Police said that two militants entered a play ground, 200 yards from Police Public School at around 10:45 A.M, lobbed grenades and fired on CRPF personnel.
“There was deployment as the separatists have given a strike call. Some children were playing cricket in the ground. Militants mixed up with the boys and carried weapons inside the ground in sports kit,” Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, central Kashmir, Syed Afadul Mujtaba told reporters. “Militants were two in number,” he said.
“First we heard an explosion. Later firing started,” said a traffic cop on duty nearby. “The firing continued for at least 30 minutes. There was hue and cry from all sides.”
Police is not yet able to establish how the fidayeen reached the area. “The matter is under investigation. Things will be clear during investigation,” DIG Mujtaba said.
However, sources in police said that the fidayeen might have come from north Kashmir.
Bemina is important from strategic point of view with highway passing through the area used by Army for moving men and supplies to north Kashmir.
The killed CRPF men belonged to 73 Battalion and have been identified as ASI A.B Singh, Constable Om Prakash, Constable L. Parmol, Constable Shubash and Constable Satish Shah.
The injured CRPF men have been identified as SI Ashok Kumar, Constable Jeevan Kishore, Constable A.R Rarveen, Constable T. Bharat Bai, Constable Goswami Yadesh and Constable Ram Prasad.
The civilians who were injured in the firing were identified as Obaid Ahmad Dar son of Farooq Ahmad, Mudasir Ahmad Wani son of Ghulam Ahmad, Sohail Nazir son of Nazir Ahmad and Asif Ahmad Hajam son of Nazir Ahmad, all residents of Bemina. All the injured were shifted to hospital for treatment.
After the gun-battle ended, CRPF personnel cordoned off the area opposite Police Public School and carried out thorough search operation. The residents of Al-Farooq colony alleged that CRPF men ransacked the residential houses and beat the inmates.
Police said they recovered two AK-47 rifles, five AK magazines, 60 AK rounds, two Chinese pistol, two Pistol rounds, one UBGL, three UBGL Grenades, four Hand Grenades and two pouches from the encounter site.
A middle-rung police officer said that after the gunfight, angry CRPF men tried to barge into neighboring houses. “But we stopped them,” he said.
The gun battle created panic in most parts of Srinagar. After the encounter, several residents of Bemina took to streets and pelted stones on security forces. The clashes continued for some time.
Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen has taken responsibility of the fidayeen attack. Hizb spokesman Baleeg-u-din told a local news agency over phone that two guerillas of the outfit attacked the CRPF camp. He said, “It was a guerilla attack and Hizb militants will carry out these kinds of attacks in future also.”
Militants had carried out last fidayeen attack in Srinagar at Lal Chowk on January 6, 2010.