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Pampore standoff enters 3rd day, police recover militant’s body from building

The standoff between security forces and the militants holed-up inside the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) complex in Pampore entered third day on Wednesday, even as the body of a militant was recovered from the besieged building.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2016 13:21 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times
Entrepreneurship Development Institute,Pampore,violence in Kashmir
Security forces keep guard outside the EDI building at Pampore where militants are holed up . The standoff entered its third day on Wednesday. (PTI)

Officials said on Wednesday the operation to flush out militants from the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) building in Pampore has entered its final stages and security forces have gained control of one of the structures.

“The operation at Pampore is still going on but it is definitely now in final stages,” an official said.

The body of one of the militants has been recovered from the besieged hostel building as forces entered the structure to clear the rooms.

“We have entered the building to clear rooms. Body of one militant has been recovered,” director general of police (coordination), SP Vaid told Hindustan Times.

Reports said two militants have been killed in a gunbattle thathas lasted over 50 hours but there has been no official confirmation.

Security forces entered one portion of the building but are proceeding cautiously as more militants could be hiding inside. Elite para commandos of the army have also called in to neutralise the militants, the official added.

Forces have been pounding the building on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway since Monday after two or three militants barged inside the complex and took positions inside one of the buildings.

The hostel building, in which the militants are holed up since Monday morning, has around 60 rooms and the forces waited for the gunmen to exhaust their ammunition.

“We are not receiving any fire from the militants now. The final position will be cleared once we search the whole building,” said Vaid told.

Read: Pampore militants had planned a suicide attack in Srinagar: Officials

Lax security

This is the second attack on the institute that trains and finances young men and women to become entrepreneurs. In February, three special forces personnel, two CRPF men and a civilian lost their lives in a 50-hour standoff. Then, the attackers had captured the main office block.

The latest attack has raised questions about security in and around the complex.

After the February attack, authorities decided to build bunkers around the complex but the work is yet to begin. Only a tin fence was erected on the front to secure the complex after the incident.

The Jhelum flows behind the complex and the riverside is not properly fenced giving anyone an easy access to the institute. The militants reportedly came in a boat this time.

“We are not a security installation. Just as in case of a college or a university, one can’t expect us to turn this space into a garrison,” a JKEDI official said.

Read: J-K: Ops to flush out militants in Pampore enter 2nd day, explosions heard

A security official echoed similar views, saying there were limits to the deployment of security personnel outside an educational institute — which means, fewer guards were around.

Because of the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir valley, there were no students in the building when the attackers entered the hostel.

The valley has been witnessing violent public protests following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July.

First Published: Oct 12, 2016 10:45 IST