Two militants were killed as the operation to flush out holed up ultras inside a government building in Pampore on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway entered the third day on Wednesday with security forces pounding the multi-storey structure with mortars and rockets.
Security forces have been pounding the building of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) since Monday after three militants barged inside the complex with the aim of engaging the law enforicing agencies. The operation to flush out holed up militants entered the third day as security forces continued shelling the multi-storey structure with mortars and rockets to bring it down.
Fire and smoke rises from the government building where suspected militants have taken refuge during a gun battle in Pampore, 16 kms from Srinagar on Tuesday. A group of ultras took shelter inside EDI building on Monday morning. PTI Fire and smoke rises from the government building where suspected militants have taken refuge during a gun battle in Pampore, 16 kms from Srinagar on Tuesday. A group of ultras took shelter inside EDI building on Monday morning.
The bodies of the two militants killed in the operation have been recovered, officials said. The security forces have managed to enter one portion of the building but are proceeding cautiously as one more militant might be hiding inside. "The operation at Pampore is still going on but it is definitely now in final stages," the official said.
Meanwhile, according to CNN-News18 four floors of the EDI complex have been sanitised and the army is now in the process of clearing out the upper three floors.
The operation has been now going on for 52 hours as most parts of the concrete building have been reduced to a skeleton after many of its walls were blown up. "The operation at Pampore is still going on.The concrete structure is posing a difficulty to the army personnel in bringing it down," an army officials said.
Elite Para commandos of the army have also been called in to neutralise the militants but the security personnel are not rushing in to the building to avoid casualties, the officials said.
The area around the EDI premises has been cordoned off to prevent the militants from escaping, the official said. Two to three militants stormed into the EDI complex in the wee hours of Monday and took positions inside one of the buildings.
The 70-room, seven-storey building is located at Pampore on the banks of the river Jhelum and 12 km from the Srinagar city centre. The joint operation was launched by the army, the Special Operations Group of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The ultras could have entered the complex from the riverside but that can only be ascertained once the operation is over, the officials said.
After getting inside the complex, the militants set on fire few mattresses inside a hostel room to attract the attention of the police and other security forces, which arrived within minutes of the smoke emanating from the building.
Two security personnel and a policeman were injured as the militants fired from inside on Monday, according to IANS. Militants had targeted the EDI building in February this year as well.
Five security force personnel including two young army officers and a civilian employee of the Institute and three militants were killed in that operation which lasted 48 hours.