A gunfight between militants and Indian security forces has entered the third day in Kashmir's saffron-rich Pampore town, where at least one extremist has been killed. The Indian army has deployed drones to the sprawling government-run building to closely monitor the movement of the Islamists, suspected to be from the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Indian forces have been battling the militants, who laid siege to the 7-storey complex of Kashmir's Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) in the morning on Monday (10 October). The gun battle has remained mostly one-sided in favour of the security forces although the holed up militants are believed to be well-stocked with ammunition and other supplies.
"Over three quintals of plastic explosives (PEK) and more than 250 rockets were fired at the building since Monday, this was besides over 200 litres of petrol and diesel which were slingshot at the building followed by massive firing from automatic weapons to cause fire and smoke anyone out of it," a security source told the Kashmir Monitor. Automatic weapons and rockets were also fired at the ensconced militants to flush them out. At least three security forces, two soldiers and a police personnel, are injured in the incident but their wounds are not life-threatening.
The operation could as well extended for another as just one of the assailants was killed on Tuesday (11 October). The number of attackers within the 10,000-sq.ft building, which was intended to train and financially support young people in Kashmir, is also unclear. The entire structure has suffered major damages during the course of the operation. Located on a strategic highway connecting Srinagar, the state capital, and Jammu province, the building is about 15kms from the city centre. It had come under a similar attack in February as well.
"We don't want any causalities this time. In the February encounter militants inflicted heavy causalities on the security forces when they tried to enter the building. This time we will not take any such risk," an officer was quoted as saying referring to the six people died in the February siege, which lasted for 48 hours before the three attackers were killed.