Pampore encounter: Another army officer, militant killed in gunfight

Srinagar: Another officer of the Indian army's elite Para Regiment was killed on Sunday evening in the ongoing gunfight between guerrillas and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district while an injured soldier died in hospital, taking the toll to six, police said. One of the militants was also killed.

A senior police officer said Captain Tushar Mahajan was killed Sunday evening in the over 24-hour-long ongoing gunfight between holed-up guerrillas and security forces inside the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) complex in Pampore town on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

Mahajan belonged to Udhampur district.

One of the militants was also killed and his body recovered, said a paramilitary force officer, adding that two or three more of them are believed to be in the building.

Earlier on Sunday, Captain Pawan Kumar of 10 Para Regiment was killed when he entered the JKEDI multi-storeyed building in which the guerrillas are holed up.

Captain Pawan Kumar belonged to Haryana's Jind and was the only son of his parents.

"Lance Naik Om Prakash of the Para Commandos, injured in the gunfight during the day, succumbed to critical injuris in the army's base hospital in Srinagar," said the police officer.

The toll in the gunfight among the security forces now comprises three soldiers, and two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers. A civilian identified as Abdul Gani Mir of Gundipora village of Pulwama district, who worked as a gardener at the JKEDI complex, was also killed.

A total of 13 other security men have so far been injured in the gunfight that started on Saturday when guerrillas attacked a CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Sempora in the district.

After attacking the bus that was part of the CRPF convoy, the group of three to five heavily-armed guerrillas, said to be of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), had entered the JKEDI complex where around 120 staff members were inside the complex.

All the civilians were safely evacuated before the operation was started by the security forces against the holed up guerrillas.

Security forces on Sunday pressed drones into service to pinpoint the exact location of the guerrillas inside the building whose top floor has already been destroyed in the fire caused by the use of explosives to flush out the militants.

A senior police officer said the security forces have entered the ground floor, while the guerrillas are in the upper floors.

Meanwhile, dozens of protesters resorted to heavy stone pelting at the security forces in Pampore town and some other places close to the gunfight site.

Two protesters sustained injuries in tear smoke shelling and aerial firing by security forces to disperse the protesters. The Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained closed for the second day Sunday due to the gunfight.

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