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J&K encounter: 48-hour long gunbattle ends, 3 Militants Among Nine Dead


Security forces on Monday killed all three militants holed up in a government building in Jammu and Kashmir's Pampore town, ending a more than 48-hour long gun-battle in which five soldiers and a civilian also died. The bodies of three slain militants were recovered from the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute complex (JKEDI) in Pampore.

"Firing exchanges have stopped and room-to-room searches of the multi-storeyed building where the militants were hiding are going on," a senior police officer told Media here. The gunfight between a group of heavily-armed militants and security forces started on Saturday when a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus was attacked at Sempora (Pampore) on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

Two CRPF troopers identified as head constable Bhola Prasad and driver constable R.K.Rana had died in that attack, and the assailants had fled to the nearby JKEDI complex for shelter. Security forces immediately surrounded the complex, but the operation against the guerrillas was started only after around 120 trainees and staff members were safely evacuated from the complex.

The army took over the operation against the guerrillas, believed to belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, with a group of specially-trained para commandos being brought in to flush them out. However, two officers of the elite Para Regiment - Capt. Pawan Kumar of 10 Para and Capt. Tushar Mahajan of 9 Para regiment - who were leading from the front were killed in the operation after they entered the multi-storeyed building which guerrillas were using as a fortified bunker.

Captain Kumar belonged to Haryana's Jind district in Haryana while Captain Mahajan belonged to Udhampur town in the Jammu region. Another commando identified as Lance Naik Om Prakash was injured in the operation and succumbed in hospital on Sunday. A civilian, Abdul Gani Mir of Gundipora village in Pulwama district, who worked as a gardener at the institute was also killed in the gunfight.

As may as 15 other security personnel including an assistant commandant of the CRPF have been injured in the gunfight and are being treated in hospital. At least 15 protesters were injured in Pampore town on Monday in clashes with security forces. The protesters had defied curfew-like restrictions and were trying to carry out a march towards the site of the gunfight.

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