A 22-hour long gunbattle on the outskirts of Srinagar city ended Monday afternoon with security personnel killing two suspected LeT militants who were holed-up in a house and held a couple hostage.
This was the first major encounter between militants and security forces in Srinagar since the Fidayeen attack in Bemina in March last year. The city had been declared militant-free by the police.
On Sunday evening, police and paramilitary forces after specific information cordoned off Ahmad Nagar locality near Srinagar. When they were zeroing-in on the target house, militants opened fire wounding a policeman. They also managed to rush out of the building and move into another house.
Abdul Ghani Mir, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir), said the house owner and his wife were taken hostage by the militants. “They (house owner and his wife) weren’t allowed to come out,” the official said. “That’s why it took us so long”.
As it grew dark on Sunday evening, the security forces halted the operation and on Monday morning police offered to negotiate with the holed-up militants, but they refused to surrender.
The joint security team then resumed the operation and managed to rescue the hostages, police claimed. The intermittent firing between militants and security forces continued for hours on Monday during which another policeman was injured.
As the standoff continued, police blew up the single-storey house, killing the two militants — identified as Abu Huzaifa and Chota Hafiz.
Soon after the encounter, protests started at Ahmad Nagar and its surrounding areas with people pelting stones at police and paramilitary forces.