SRINAGAR: Two suspected rebels were killed as the Pampore encounter came to an end after stretching on for 56 hours, the Indian army announced on Wednesday.
A group of suspected rebels stormed into the premises of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) in Pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar in held Kashmir (IHK) early on Monday, and took positions inside one of the buildings.
The stand off between government forces and suspected rebels stretched into its third day today.
Indian Army Major General Ashok Narula briefing the media said, “Two people have been eliminated and two weapons have been recovered.”
One Indian army soldier was earlier injured during the encounter.
Relaying the events of Monday morning, Narula claimed, “They were terrorists inside, it was confirmed. We cordoned the area, we got more forces and started our operation.”
“Day after yesterday in the morning around 7am there was firing inside the building. We cordoned the area and got more forces,” he added.
He added, “It was a very tricky operation because it is a very huge building and we did not want to do any collateral damage because there were chances of civilians being inside although people had been taken out.”
Narula said, “It [the building] had 60 rooms on six floors. There are 60 bathrooms also. That is why it takes time to clear each room. This operation is a tedious process because there are too many rooms and floors.”
“We tried to pin them down and this morning we started the operation again. These operations are tedious it takes its own time to do,” he said.
Elite para commandos of the Indian army had been called in to neutralise the militants, Times of India quoted an official saying.
Security forces on Monday employed mortar shells, light machine guns and other small arms in their attempt to flush out the suspects but with no success.
Much of the building has been “reduced to a skeleton,” TOI reported, adding that many of its walls had been blown up. The Indian daily said the gunbattle between security forces and suspected rebels went on for 56 hours.
The attack comes as IHK is experiencing its largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the killing in July of a popular rebel commander by Indian soldiers.
The protests, and a sweeping military crackdown, have paralysed life in IHK.