In an incident reminiscent of the 2016 Uri attack, militants stormed a paramilitary training centre at Lethpora in South Kashmir in the wee hours on Sunday and killed four CRPF personnel while three others received bullet injuries. CRPF officials said two militants who were hiding in a nearby camp were gunned down and a combing operation was underway.
While there has been no official confirmation, IANS reported that Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) had claimed responsibility for the attack on the 185 battalion CRPF training camp in Pulwama district’s Lethpora area.
Heavily armed militants ambushed the camp at around 2.10 am after hurling grenades and resorted to indiscriminate firing during which four CRPF personnel were killed. While one of them died on the spot, the other three succumbed to injuries in the hospital. “They were armed with under-barrel grenade launchers and automatic weapons. They were challenged by camp sentries,” PTI quoted CRPF officials as saying.
Personnel from Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and state police soon cordoned off the camp and flushed out the two ultras. One of the injured personnel was identified as Saifuddin, a resident of Nowgam.
The attack comes days after India claimed it killed three Pakistani soldiers in a cross-LoC attack. The raid had come in retaliation for the killing of four Indian soldiers, including a Major, by Pakistani troops in Keri sector last week.
Despite receiving a tip-off about an impending fidayeen strike, the security forces failed to prevent the attack. Director General of Police S P Vaid termed the attack “unfortunate” and lashed out at Pakistan. He asserted as long as Pakistan kept sending militants, security forces and people of Kashmir would continue to go through such turmoil.
“There was an input from the last two-three days.They (militants) were trying.They probably could not get a place and time earlier.So, they struck last night,” Vaid told reporters.
Congress took the opportunity to castigate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The Pulwama attack is a sign of failure of PM Narendra Modi’s foreign policy,” ANI quoted Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev as saying. J&K Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh minced no words as he slammed Pakistan for the attack. “In desperation and frustration, Pakistan does cross-border firing, attacks our posts, kills our civilians. We are replying to them and they are facing defeat. Pakistan has been exposed and isolated on the diplomatic front,” Singh said.
The attack comes on the heels of the killing of a top Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) ‘commander’, Noor Mohammad Tantray, who was gunned down in an encounter in Samboora village in Pulwama district of South Kashmir earlier on Tuesday. As the JeM’s ‘divisional commander’ in South Kashmir, he was reported to have played an instrumental role in reviving the outfit.
On September 18, 2016, militants stormed the Brigade headquarters in Uri after cutting the fence and killed 19 soldiers in one of the worst militant attacks in Valley. Several barracks of the fortified camp were also burnt to ashes in the attack.
(With inputs from agencies)