Zulfikar Majid, Srinagar: Two Army captains were killed on Sunday in the ongoing encounter between holed up militants and security forces in Pampore area on the outskirts of Srinagar, taking the toll to six.
Two Army captains, two CRPF men, a para commando and a civilian have so far been killed in the gun battle which began at 4 pm on Saturday. At least 12 CRPF men have been injured.
The gunfight began on Saturday after militants attacked a CRPF convoy outside the Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway near Pampore.
The multi-storied building caught fire on Sunday afternoon as the encounter between the Army and three to four heavily-armed militants continued till late into the night.
Police sources said 23-year-old Captain Pawan Kumar of the elite 10-Para Regiment was killed while storming the building with his men during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.
Captain Tushar Mahajan and trooper Om Prakash, both from elite 10-Para commando units, also lost their lives while storming the building on Sunday.
Sources added that the holed up militants fired a volley of bullets on security forces who had managed to enter the building, forcing them to retreat.
Through the day, the militants kept on firing and throwing grenades on the security forces who have surrounded the building. The Army has so far succeeded in eliminating one of the militants, a police officer said.
Sources said security forces used Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) fitted with cameras to locate the exact position of the ultras inside the building.
Special DG CRPF S K Bhagat told reporters at the encounter site that militants have an advantage as they are on a height.
“Besides, it is a concrete building. But we will neutralise all the militants who seem to be three in number,” he said.
A senior police officer told Deccan Herald that the operation was taking long as the building — a well-built concrete structure — has dozens of rooms. “It also has a food court on the top floor and militants might be using food stored in the building,” he said. Nearly 100 civilians — the staff and students of EDI — were evacuated by the security forces on Saturday.
Meanwhile, clashes broke out on Sunday in several localities of Pampore area. Witnesses said that locals ignored appeals by the police.