Kashmir-A Diamond of the Crown continues to be in turmoil: Srinagar: 14-hr encounter ends after 2 militants killed, 2 army men injured

Security forces gunned down two militants holed up in a school on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday, ending a 14-hour-long encounter in which a couple of soldiers were also injured.

Jammu and Kashmir director general of police SP Vaid confirmed the militant deaths that evening. Both the soldiers are reportedly out of danger.

The encounter began after two militants opened fire at a road-opening party passing through Pantha Chowk, killing a CRPF sub-inspector and injuring a jawan, on Saturday evening. The attackers then fled into the Delhi Public School building.

“The exchange of fire between security forces and militants, which began around 3:40 am, is over. Two militants have been killed,” an official said, adding that search-and-sanitisation operations were underway at the site.

Security forces had to conduct a room-to-room search of the structure to locate and eliminate the duo. Restrictions prescribed under Section 144 of the CrPC were also imposed on the Ram Munshibag-Sempora stretch of the nearby Srinagar-Jammu national highway to discourage people from protesting near the encounter site.

Terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba earlier claimed the attack, even saying that its militants killed three security personnel.

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The wreath-laying ceremony of the deceased CRPF sub-inspector, Sahab Shukla (50), was held at the Recruit Training Centre in Humhama earlier in the day. Top civil officials, besides a number of paramilitary and police personnel, paid their respects to the fallen officer. Shukla hailed from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.

The Pantha Chowk encounter has turned the spotlight on how the Kashmir unrest continues to affect children’s education in the state. Over 30 schools were either completely or partially gutted by miscreants last summer.

“We tried to keep damage to the building at a minimum because the enemy seems intent on destroying our schools. They want students to abandon their education, but we will ensure that nothing like that happens,” Vaid told mediapersons on the sidelines of Shukla’s wreath-laying ceremony.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party agreed with the police officer’s claim. “The attack on #DPSSrinagar is another attempt by these anti-Kashmir elements to push the youth of the state towards illiteracy,” it tweeted. “Destroying schools is a heinous ploy of anti-Kashmir elements who don’t want kids here to study and prosper.”

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