Srinagar, Dec 30: General officer Commanding (GoC) Kilo Force H S Sahi Wednesday said that three militants killed in an encounter at Lawaypora on Srinagar outskirts were planning a big strike on the highway to gain publicity.
He, however, said that the identity and affiliation of the slain trio is yet to be known as police is trying to find out to which outfit they belonged to. Addressing a joint press conference at 2 RR headquarters at Zainakote, HMT, Srinagar, GoC Kilo Force said that in the past one week, five militants including a Pakistani national were killed in two separate gunfights in north Kashmir.
“Since past many days, intelligence inputs were pouring in continuously about the movement of militants on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. Yesterday, we developed leads and came to know that militants are hiding in a house right opposite to Noora hospital at Lawaypora in HMT area,” Sahi said.
He said that when the presence of militants got established, army’s 2 RR, Police and the CRPF repeated asked them to surrender. “The militants fired indiscriminately at security forces and lobbed grenades as well. The operation was put on a halt due to dark but cordon layers were tightened. With the first light the firefight again resumed and militant used heavy ammunition against government forces,” the GoC said, adding that in the ensuing gunfight three militants were killed.
“This was a clean operation and there was no causality to the forces,” said GoC Sahi, who was flanked by commander 10 sector RR Naresh Mishra and SP West Shehzad Saliar besides other officials of army and police.
“The operation ended at 11:30 am. The bodies of three slain were retrieved and police is identifying them,” he said. Asked whether it was clear to which outfit they belonged to, he said: “So far it is not clear. It is been an hour only since the encounter ended, police is verifying their identity and affiliation,” he said.
To a query why militants are choosing Srinagar outskirts, he said: “Militants choose Srinagar outskirts or highways to carry out attacks on security forces to get maximum publicity. The nature of ammunition used by the militants in today’s gunfight, suggests they were planning a big strike on the highway.”
He said that another reason why militants choose Srinagar outskirts is because the area has congested locality, lanes, and by-lanes, “they perhaps feel, these areas are safe heaven for them.” “But our intelligence grid is very strong and will not allow to carry out any major strike in these areas. January 26 is coming and they may try to play some mischief, but we are alert and will foil their all plans.”
Asked whether the operation has been called off, the army officer said that the encounter has ended and the traffic that was divert is also being allowed to ply on the road again.
Meanwhile, a police officer said that one Ak-47 riffle, two pistols and a few grenades were recovered from the slain militants—(KNO)