5 militants, Major among 9 killed in Pattan encounter
10 November 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: With the killing of all five militants, the three day long gun battle at Sadmohalla, Pattan came to an end yesterday afternoon. In the prolonged encounter, four soldiers including a Major were also killed. However, another prolonged encounter at Sopore town in Baramulla district continued since Thursday afternoon. Today, the security forces gunned down a ‘fidayeen’ while another militant was still holed up in a hotel when the operation was suspended this evening. Brigadier K A Mathana said that an encounter ensued in Sadmohalla, Pattan after a joint search part of Special Operation Group (SOG) of State Police and Army was attacked by militants hiding in some houses on November 7 (Tuesday). Reinforcement was rushed and the area was sealed from all sides to foil any attempt by the militants to escape. During the encounter night three militants and three soldiers were killed on the same day. One more militant was killed by the troops on Thursday morning while the fifth one was killed Friday afternoon. Earlier on Friday morning when the hiding militant tried to break the cordon, Major Virender Singh got hit during the firing. He, later, succumbed to injuries in the Base Hospital, here raising the toll of the security forces killed in the encounter to four. Three other soldiers who died in the encounter have been identified as Hukum Singh, Manoj Kumar and Phuloo Ram. According to the Brigadier, atleast 10 houses were destroyed completely while more than 12 houses suffered partial damage in the gunfight. Meanwhile, the security forces today killed a ‘fidayeen’ (member of a suicide squad) during a fierce gun-battle while another militant was still believed to be holed up in a hotel at Sopore town. The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba said two militants of the group were engaged in the gunfight with the security forces in Sopore since November 8 while two others had escaped the same day. The militants had taken refuge in New Light Hotel at Sopore and were firing on the security forces from there. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) spokesman Prabhakar Tripathy said that the operation has been suspended for the night and would resume with the first light tomorrow morning. Mr Tripathy said one of the militants had been killed in the gun-battle this evening. 'But, the firing from inside the hotel is still continuing,' he added. He said today, security forces in the morning tried to enter the hotel building from two different sides. However, the holed up militants resorted to indiscriminate firing from inside the hotel in which a jawan was critically wounded. The operation pro-longed as security forces did not want to cause damage to the hotel building, the spokesman said, adding a small hut near the hotel was damaged in the encounter. Senior officials, including Inspector General of CRPF for Kashmir Range M S Gupta were present on the spot. The spokesman said 'there are about 16 rooms in the three-storey hotel building and the holed up militants were firing, continuously changing their position'. After continued firing from the militants holed up inside the hotel, reinforcements were rushed to the area from nearby camps and the cordon around the building was further tightened. He said in order to avoid civilian casualties, security forces exercised restrain and did not returned the fire till all those present in the hotel building were rescued by the CRPF and the Special Operation Group (SOG) of State Police. According to the civilians rescued from the building, the militants were carrying more than half a dozen magazines, two assault rifles and grenades. He said immediately after the rescue operation, security forces also retaliated and killed one of the militant. A spokesman of the LeT Abdullah Gaznavi, however, said that two holed up LeT militants have managed to escape from the hotel while two others were fighting the troops. Meanwhile, security forces have seized a huge haul of arms and ammunition from border district of Kupwara. Three AK 47 rifles, six AK magazines, 13 UBGL grenades, one pistol magazine, 165 AK rounds, one GPS, one Thurya set with cover, one compass, 11 hand grenades, one pouch, one wire cutter, 20 detonators and 18 detonators with cover were seized from Daradori in Trehgam area of Kupwara district, an official spokesman said. The police said the seizure followed a fierce gun-battle between the security forces and the militants on November 8. One JAKLI personnel sustained injuries when he slipped and stepped on a landmine during the operation, the spokesman further said.