Militant presence in heart of Srinagar around August 15 sparks alarm

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A Special Operation Group member of J&K police was killed and four other police and CRPF personnel were injured in an ongoing encounter in Batamaloo area of Srinagar on Sunday morning.

The police acting on a tipoff regarding presence of militants cordoned the area on wee hours of Sunday, triggering an exchange of fire during which the armed forces sustained injuries. Three CRPF personnel and two SOG personnel of J&K police sustained injuries and one of them succumbed later. J&K police informed that they have detained two alleged accomplices of militants, after busting their hideout.

The operation is going on as the armed forces suspected presence of two to three militants, however, sources say that the militants may have managed to give slip and flee during the initial gunfight. As of now, there is no firing going on at the spot.

The encounter took place in the area just few hundred meters from government secretariat and J&K police control room. The presence of militants in the heart of Srinagar city raises eyebrows, in wake of the upcoming August 15 function held at Bakshi Stadium, around two kms from the spot, where operation is going on. The government often claims to have fortified and insulated Srinagar with its elaborate security arrangements and acute technical and human surveillance.

However, there are a few active militants hailing from Srinagar, who have brought focus back on the city, even though almost 80 percent of the local boys in the militant ranks hail from four districts of southern Kashmir.

In Srinagar, the armed forces are conducting an extensive search operation in the surrounding areas of encounter spot and have blocked all the lanes and by lanes of the congested Batamaloo locality. The government has also imposed curfew in some parts of the city and suspended mobile Internet services to avoid flow of communication on social media and possibility of any protests near the encounter site or elsewhere.

“We received a specific input regarding presence of militants during the night and we immediately launched the operation. The search is still going on and we have inputs that the militant has received injuries. Five J&K police and CRPF men received injuries during the initial firing and one of them succumbed,” DIG central Kashmir, V K Birdi told reporters near the encounter spot.

The armed forces in J&K are continuing with Operation All Out, aimed at wiping out the militancy from the state. As per the government statistics around 250 militants are active in the state and over this year till now over 115 militants have been killed during the encounters and over 128 locals have joined in as well. Also, during 133 infiltration attempts this year till June 69 militants have managed to infiltrate.

Source: Economic Times