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Greater Kashmir

Gunfight brings bustling Karan Nagar to standstill

Government forces have placed concertina wires on entry and exit points to the market. The movement from Karan Nagar Chowk to Gole market has been barred with heavy deployment of forces.

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 13 2018 1:50AM
Gunfight brings bustling Karan Nagar to standstillPhoto: Habib Naqash/GK

The ongoing gunfight between militants and government forces at Karan Nagar here has brought one of the busiest markets in the summer capital to a standstill. Loud bursts of gunshots break the silence amid snowfall. 

The spot is barely 500 metres from SMHS hospital where a Pakistani militant Naveed alias Abu Hanzala escaped from police custody last week. The area houses hundreds of business establishments and shops which remained closed as gunfight raged in the locality.  

Government forces have placed concertina wires on entry and exit points to the market. The movement from Karan Nagar Chowk to Gole market has been barred with heavy deployment of forces. Apart from media persons, nobody is allowed to venture near the gunfight site. 

“At around 4.30 am, loud bang woke up residents. This was followed heavy movement of forces in the vicinity.  But nobody feared fidayeen attack in hub of the city,” said Ajaz Ahmad Kumar, who resides at a distance of nearly 200 metres from CRPF camp which was the target of the militants.

“Later around 8 am, we were asked by the forces to evacuate from our homes,” he said adding that following which the heavy exchange of fire started between militants holed up in a building behind the Caset School.

Another eyewitness, Bashir Ahmad Parray who lives on rent near National School at Karan Nagar which is also around 300 metres from the gunfight site said “after loud explosion in wee hours, everything seemed calm till gunfight broke out at around 9.30 am. At that time even some shopkeepers had open their shops, later they closed their shops following intense firing.”

As per locals, there are some residents who are still holed up in their houses as they didn’t get time to move out. “Since morning I am receiving calls from a woman known to me. She resides near medical college asking for help to evacuate her. I have been requesting police officials to help her move out from house, but due to heavy firing, police is unable to help her,” said Jan Muhammad Koul, a resident of Gole market.

Koul said “nobody had imagined an attack on the camp in the busy market.” “Fortunately, the attack took place in the morning, otherwise if it would have happened during day time, there would have been huge losses and casualties as thousands of people work in the area.”

“More than Rs 5000 crore are invested in Karan Nagar by people as it is main market of the summer capital. If the government could not stop attack here, how safe are other places,” said Koul who is also a head of traders’ association.

Chairman, Caset Walden School, CL Vishen who also resides in the area said, “gunfight started in the morning; we are still learning loud bursts of gunshots. However, our school is safe, and militants are holed up in a newly constructed building behind school.”