June 2016 News

Pampore Attack: How Brave CRPF Jawans Fought Lashkar Terrorists Till Their Last Breath

27 June 2016
India Today
Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu

New Delhi: CRPF Director General (DG) K Durga Prasad today contradicted Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's remark over Pampore terror attack that ' it appeared that standard operating procedure (SOPs) were not followed by CRPF personnel.' Eight CRPF men were gunned down by terrorists, while 22 were injured in an encounter in Pampore area of Srinagar on Sunday (June 26). Lauding the bravery of the men in the bus, Prasad said that at least four of the personnel on the bus fired immediately. Those who retaliated were head constable Vir Singh who fired 39 rounds and constable Satish Chand who fired 32 rounds. However, both became martyrs and head constable Pushpati was grievously injured. The bus came under fire from two Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba fidayeens who were gunned down within one minute of the encounter. A senior officer of CRPF, defending the men, said that the causalities were high because ' the men in the bus took the burst of fire.' But even in dying moments both Vir Singh and Satish Chand, fired many rounds. After taking the first few burst of fire, these men reacted as quickly as possible. Many empty rounds were recovered from the guns of the slain soldiers. In an encounter which barely lasted a minute, CRPF men had emptied 500 rounds of ammunition. The terrorist fired two rounds and 2000 empty rounds were found, enough ammunition to carry 10 more rounds which is an indication that after the attack on the convoy, the terrorist could have escaped to a building or prolonged the encounter after taking hostage. The plan failed as the terrorist were killed almost immediately. The CRPF believes that the terrorist chose the spot of the encounter carefully as there was a turn on the highway which made vehicles part of the convoy vulnerable. The Maruti Alto which was used by the terrorists also slowed down there. The terrorist got down 100 metres away and fired instantly. The target may not have been specific, but the spot was recceed. The road opening party ROP with its two teams, one on foot and the other in movable vehicle were close by and immediately came to the rescue by opening fire. The 51 RR which was not too far away, also rushed to spot, but by the time they reached, sources say the encounter was over. This is a second attack to have took place in Pampore near Srinagar. The investigations have revealed that the foreign terrorist seems to have ' changed their own SOP'. They were not carrying a GPS or any equipment which could have tracked them back to Pakistan. They were instead helped by surrendered militant as per local intelligence available. A source says ' that it seems to be a strategy for local militant to join hands with Lashkar for a greater success.' But with intelligence inputs suggesting a ' long summer', saying apprehension is that targeted attacks on security forces are on the rise. Appropriate steps are being taken to counter terror attacks. CHANGES IN SOP: CRPF is tweaking SOP's to reduce casualties in attacks like this. DG, CRPF while speaking to India Today said he was in a process to examine the SOP's. Getting armoured vehicles from Naxal affected areas to Jammu and Kashmir. Mine proof vehicles are not just effective in dealing with Improvised Explosive devices ( IED's) but also against bullets. LEARNING TRICKS FROM THE ARMY: The CRPF will not only study sitting pattern in the bus. They are also drawing lessons from the army, on using bullet proof shield on the sides of the bus. An act which could prevent a direct hit from the gun. DISTANCE BETWEEN CONVOY VEHICLES: CRPF says particularly in case of long convoys, they plan to have vehicle movement in three's. That means three vehicles will move together, not a longer chain, so in case of an impact, like the one in encounter, the damage is less. So far 74 terrorist have been killed in terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. The number of attacks have significantly stepped up in the past two months. But sources indicate that the worse may still not be over. While there has been criticism of the force, for its response time and high casualty rate , CRPF has not taken kindly to critical statements or being called 'sitting ducks' . However the minister of home affairs Kiren Rijuju, also pointed out that 'something serious seems to have gone wrong.' Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home affairs is sending a three member team to look into the spike in cross border infiltration. The team will also examine the practices and procedures being followed by the CRPF during movement of their convoys. The team which will leave on Tuesday will submit its report to MHA. The DG CRPF will also be heading to Srinagar along other senior CRPF officials.