Militants storm CRPF camp, 5 including officer dead; 2 local militants also killed in pre-dawn attack
Srinagar, Dec 31: Five CRPF personnel were killed and at least three others injured in a pre-dawn fidayeen attack on Sunday by Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants on the heavily-guarded paramilitary Commando Training Centre (CTC) in Lethpora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
A group of two to three JeM militants carried out the attack at around 2:30 am by lobbing grenades and storming the camp.
The troopers on guard duty returned fire, which started a gunfight in which four CRPF men died of bullet wounds while the fifth died due to a cardiac arrest during the operation, defence sources said.
At least, three wounded soldiers, they said, were rushed to the hospital, where they were said to be stable.
The 4-storey building at the camp consists of 3 blocks. Block 1 is used for officers’ family accommodation, second block as main office while block three, which houses a hospital and a control room, was the one targeted by militants.
Soon after the attack, reinforcement of army’s Special Forces and SOG rushed to the spot and cordoned off the whole area amid fierce gunfight.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor on Sunday evening, around 15 hours after the initial storming of the paramilitary camp, CRPF Spokesperson Rajesh Yadav said the operation was still on.
“We have five casualties (including the one who died of heart attack). Two bodies of the militants have been recovered. There are more militants inside, either one or many. We may have to wait till tomorrow morning,” he said.
He also confirmed injuries to three troopers.
Quoting official sources, local news gathering agency GNS, identified one of the slain troopers, who died due to heart attack, as Inspector Kuldeep Roy.
The other deceased, as per GNS, were identified as Sharifdin Ganie of 185 bn R/o Chadoora, Budgam, Head Constable Tufail Ahmad of 185 bn, Constable Rajender Nain of 130 bn CRPF and Pradeep Kr Panda.
As per sources, the two attackers of JeM were also killed during the gunfight. One of them was later identified as 16-year old Fardeen Ahmad Khanday, son of Ghulam Mohammad Khanday of Nazeenpora, village in Tral. Fardeen father, as per reports, is a police constable.
The second slain militant was identified as Manzoor Ahmad Baba son of Ali Mohammad Baba of Drubgam, Pulwama.
CM, Deputy CM condemn attack: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti condemned the killing of CRPF troopers, including an officer, in a past-midnight attack at a CRPF training centre at Lethpora in Pulwama district on Sunday.
Terming the act as “dastardly”, the Chief Minister said “violence has taken a heavy toll on the society in the State in terms of death and destruction, tearing apart of the social fabric, inflicting massive economic, academic and social losses besides the irreparable loss of human lives”.
The Chief Minister paid rich tributes to the troopers of the force killed in the attack. She also conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved families of the slain men.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh also expressed grief and sorrow over the killing of the CRPF personnel who lost their lives in a militant attack on 185th Battalion Camp of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Lethpora in Pulwama district today. He also prayed for early recovery of other troopers who have suffered bullet injuries.
The Deputy CM while condemning the incident said that it is a despicable act which needs to be condemned by every section of the society. Deputy CM while expressing his solidarity with the bereaved families, prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls.