The 24-hour gunfight inside Srinagar’s Delhi Public School ended with the killing of two militants who had taken shelter in the school building on Saturday evening after attacking a CRPF vehicle, killing a CRPF sub-inspector and injuring two troopers, at Athwajan on the outskirts of the city. Two Army para commandos, including a Captain, were also injured in the encounter.
The Army said the commandos had received minor injuries and were stable. Officials said the militants had planned to prolong the encounter by taking shelter inside the school, similar to last year’s gunfight at EDI Pampore where militants had taken shelter in a complex after attacking the CRPF, after which it took three days for the security personnel to kill them.
The CRPF sub-inspector, Sahab Shukla of Bihar, had succumbed to his injuries at the Army’s base hospital after the attack on Saturday. The Army and police soon reached the spot but the militants took shelter inside DPS, which has seven to eight big buildings with 400 rooms, halls and other buildings. The militants were suicide attackers, officials said.
“We have neutralised both the militants. It is a huge building with 400 rooms on 15 acres of land. So with help from the Army, we carried out room to room searches,” IG CRPF, Ravideep Sahi, said.
The Special Operation Group of J&K Police, Army’s Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF began the search operation on Saturday evening. Dozens of school employees who were inside the building were evacuated with help from the police. The security personnel only got a clue about the militants’ hiding spot when they retaliated to fire late night.
“After making sure there are no civilians left inside the building, forces began firing to pinpoint the location of militants. Initially, the militants didn’t respond. However, late in the night, militants managed to pinpoint their location and operation was launched,” a senior police officer part of the operation told The Indian Express.
“Only after every room was cleared and bodies recovered, the operation was closed,” another officer said, adding that one militant was killed on the fourth floor and another on the second floor.
Officials said that operation took time as they were looking for booby traps and moved slowly to avoid any casualty.
The spot is barely a kilometer from the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters and is considered secure due to high-level security.
The Lashkar-e-Toiba had claimed responsibility for the attack. Officials said that the militants are foreigners and their identities are being ascertained.