Forces were on alert, militants sneaked in from rear side: CRPF Spl DG

Special director general of central reserve police force SN Srivastava on Monday said that the forces personnel were on alert at the Lehtpora camp but the suicide attackers managed entry from its rear side and were “immediately engaged.”

“We lost four CRPF men in the operation. Three militants were also killed. Two militants were killed on Sunday while the third one, who was hiding in an apartment, was killed on Monday afternoon,” he told reporters in Srinagar.  He said that the operation continued for 36 hours.

Asked whether there was an alert sounded as already stated by the director general of police SP Vaid on Sunday, the top CRPF officer said that the men were on high alert when the attack took place.

“The militants managed their entry from the rear side. It is because of the alertness of our men that they were engaged soon after their entry into the camp,” he said. “In the first shoot-out, four CRPF men were killed. The fifth one was a head constable who died of heart attack.”

He said that the mopping operation is still on at the building spread over 160 acres of land and having many apartments. 

“The firing had stopped yesterday after the killing of two militants. One of the militants had taken refuge in an apartment and started firing again in the morning,” he said.

The special DG CRPF said that two of the slain militants were local and while the third one “looked like a foreigner.” 

Asked whether local Kashmiri youth becoming fidayeen was disturbing, the top CRPF officer downplayed the issue, and evaded a direct reply: “We are maintaining a close synergy with the other forces. We will work and strive hard to ensure militancy is eradicated in Kashmir.”

On whether the attack on the camp points to some serious security lapses, he said that they were anticipating a major strike by militants.

“Those who lost their lives were part of a patrolling party that was on alert,” he said.

To a query whether there would be a security review, he said that CRPF had been upgrading its security at various installations in Kashmir and many buildings are under construction or renovation.

“Review is a routine process,” he said.

He ruled out any security lapses, stating that all security agencies are “working in a complete synergy.”

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