Srinagar, February 24: The attack on the EDI building in the Saffron town of Pampore which continued for three long days was one of the deadliest encounters in the past over a decade of Fidayeen attacks in Kashmir Valley.
As per the investigation initiated by the intelligence agencies deputed in Kashmir, the three militants who were neutralized during the encounter had come very well prepared for the fight. They had already stocked their ammunition and were equally well versed with the EDI building, wherefrom they gave a “tough-fight.”
Officials say that if they had not come with mere backpacks of stocks with them and if they were not well versed with the interior of the building, there was no way that these three militants would have given so much resistance.
They opened fire on Saturday on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in which two CRPF jawans died and over a dozen were injured after which the militants sneaked into the nearby EDI complex. They took positions at advantageous heights in the building and told the employees working inside the office to leave the building. They asked, however, that the employees leave behind their belongings particularly mobile phones. The employees took shelter in one of the nearby buildings while security forces laid cordon around the campus spanning over 15 acres of the highlands near the banks of Jhelum.
During the evacuation of civilians in a joint operation by police and CRPF, one of staffers, Abdul Gani Mir was killed.
The security forces believed that the ammunition carried by militants in their backpacks would not last beyond a few hours. But after the gunfire erupted between the two sides, hundreds of bullets and an equally big number of explosives like grenades were traded within a few hours.
By midnight, a group of elite Para Troopers led by Captain Pawan Kumar stormed the main building thinking that the militants might be running out of ammunition stock as there was total silence at that moment. However, gunfight once again started and Captain Kumar was injured critically in the process and later succumbed to injuries.
The encounter continued till the next afternoon and once again Army stormed the building thinking that the militants could be exhausted. This time, the 26 year old Captain Tushar Mahajan of Udhampur was hit by a volley of bullets. With this second casuality, Army changed its strategy and decided not to hurry as there was no weakening of gunfire from the militants.
This clearly indicated that the three militants had enough of ammunition and other stock dumped in the building and they had voluntarily sneaked into it, otherwise they could have even run away.
The gunfight continued on Sunday as well and then till Monday afternoon, the General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua said that there was no time limit.
‘There is no hurry. The main purpose of Army is to make sure that we do not have any more casualties and it will take as long as it takes to clear the building,’ he said.