September 2005 News

Fidayeen Attack On Cinema Hall

7 September 2005
The Indian Express

Srinagar: One militant was killed today when the J-K Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) foiled a fidayeen attack outside the only operational cinema theatre in the city which is just 100 metres away from the high-security secretariat. Police, however, claims that it was an attack on the patrol party of the police. It was 3 pm and around 70 persons were watching Amir Khan's latest movie 'Mangal Pandey' at the Neelam cinema in Karan Nagar when the encounter broke out. 'We heard the gunshots. First we thought the militants had sneaked inside the theatre,' said a nervous Fayaz Ahmed, who was inside the cinema when the guns rattled. The screening of the film was stopped. 'All of us assembled in one corner for safety,' said Fayaz. Later, after an hour and a half, they were allowed to leave. Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, Muneer Ahmad Khan, who was monitoring the operation, said the militants attacked a patrol party outside the Neelam Cinema. 'We can't say this was a fidayeen attack. But militants may have planned to attack the CRPF camp inside the theatre. However, it was not an attack on the civil secretariat,' he clarified. The SSP said the militant was gunned down in a brief encounter. An AK rifle was also recovered from the slain militant. One constable was also injured in the encounter, he said. 'We have sealed off the entire area and search operations are on to trace the other militant.' Eyewitnesses say before the encounter there was a heavy security presence in the area and the forces were searching every vehicle passing through. 'They were searching every vehicle and auto that passed through. I can't understand how the militants managed to sneak into the area,' said a shopkeeper. Police recovered a local identity card from the slain militant, identifying him as a resident of Pulwama. However, the police officials say this might be fake. Meanwhile, a joint spokesman of three militant outfits in a telephonic statement to a local news agency claimed that the attack was carried, jointly by the militants of Al-Arifeen, Harkat-ul-Ansar and Al- Mansoorian.


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