In what security officers find “slightly odd” in a fidayeen attack that appears to have been launched from Pakistan, security forces have not recovered any food item or medicines from the rucksacks of the two militants who were killed in Srinagar on Tuesday after a 30-hour gunbattle with security forces.
“We have recovered two AK-47 rifles and eight magazines. As per initial information, no food item or medicines have been recovered,” CRPF I-G (Srinagar) Ravideep Sahi told The Indian Express. Sources said one of the militants is believed to be from Pakistan; details of the other are still being ascertained. Jammu and Kashmir Police has said that both are Lashkar operatives.
The encounter had begun early Monday morning after the two made a failed attempt to attack a CRPF camp. “Food and medicines not being found on them is slightly odd, as fidayeen (mercenaries) generally carry them for long-haul fighting where they are looking to take hostages, or get holed up. However, this is not the first case in which a fidayeen has not been found with food and medicines,” a security establishment officer said.
CRPF sources said it took a long time to kill the militants, even though they were holed up in an under-construction building, because there are many residential units in the congested neighbourhood. “We were not in a position to fire very large-area weapons to bring down the building, as we would have jeopardised other buildings in the area,” a senior CRPF officer said.
“Besides, to engage them one had to come out within a 30-metre distance without any cover. This delayed the operations,” the officer added. The officer said that enough grenades and shoulder-fired rockets were used “to smoke them out”.
CRPF Director General R R Bhatnagar said, “Most importantly, we prevented a much bigger incident by preventing them from entering our camp and limiting their movement in a building.” After that, he said, it was only a “matter of time” before they were killed.