December 2004 News

Operations Resume Against Guerrillas At Kashmir Camp

4 December 2004
Indo-Asian News Service

Srinagar: Operations to flush out guerrillas possibly still holed up in a camp of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir resumed Friday, a day after the rebels barged in and killed five paramilitary personnel. The militants had stormed the camp run jointly by the Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) and the elite Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police in Sopore town, 55 km from here, catching the security personnel unawares. Operations against them by security forces were suspended Friday evening to avoid damage to civilian life and property in the area because of failing light. 'We have started action to flush out any militants holed up inside the camp. One of the attacking militants is apparently dead and his body is lying in one of the rooms on the ground floor,' a senior police officer told IANS here. Five CRPF troopers were killed and two injured in the attack. The camp was then emptied out, trapping the attackers inside. 'The bodies of two of the slain CRPF men are also still inside,' the officer said. He said troops had been engaging in 'speculative firing' to ascertain whether some of the attackers were still inside the camp. In uncertain situations like these, security forces fire a heavy volume of automatic fire towards suspected target areas to make guerrillas respond so that their exact hiding positions can be ascertained. The camp was carrying out counter- insurgency duties in the area. The CRPF moved into the thick of anti- militancy operations after it was decided last year to replace the Border Security Force by the CRPF from the cities and towns of Kashmir. Friday's incident at the SOG camp was the seventh suicide attack carried out by guerrillas in Kashmir this year. It was also the first suicide strike by guerrillas outside summer capital Srinagar this year. On Nov 4, a suicide guerrilla attack in the posh Raj Bagh residential area of Srinagar city had left eight CRPF troopers and a suicide attacker dead. Notwithstanding official statistics that indicate a decline in the separatist violence across Kashmir compared to previous years, to an average Kashmiri normalcy is still a far cry. 'The psychological import of a deadly guerrilla attack must never be measured in terms of the dead bodies it leaves behind. Its shattering impact on the hearts and minds of those who exist in a conflict area can never be measured.'


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