Day after Pampore attack, top officers discuss ‘possible lapses’
The Saturday's attack on an Army convoy in Pampore on Srinagar outskirts that left three soldiers dead led to a joint security review by police, army and CRPF on Sunday, with special emphasis on "whether some security lapses helped militants flee from the spot".
According to sources, a consensus was evolved in the meeting that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for highways need to be strictly followed while the Srinagar-Jammu thoroughfare in particular "would remain under alert throughout the year."
The joint meeting was held at District Police Lines at South Kashmir's Awantipora where top officers from Police, Army and CRPF participated. The meeting was chaired by Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar and co-chaired by Special Director General of Police, Law and Order and Coordination, Dr S P Vaid.
The Army and CRPF officials, according to sources, explained the sequence of events that led to the killing of three soldiers and injuries to two others in a militant ambush on Saturday afternoon. The army convoy which was on way from Jammu to Srinagar was attacked by a group of one to two militants at Kadlabal area of Pampore, according to police.
"Yes there was a joint review in the wake of Pampore incident. We discussed possible lapses as we believe militants should not have managed to escape from the scene," the Special DGP Vaid told Greater Kashmir when asked if there were any security lapses found. He said the meeting agreed that the militants should not have escaped from the spot. "We passed directions that SOPs for protecting highways must be followed by all agencies including police, in letter and spirit," Vaid said.
An official, privy to the deliberations in the meeting, said the participants deliberated why reinforcement couldn't reach the spot and why the militants were not killed. "Citing example of one of the previous attacks on forces' bus at Pampore, an official stated soon after firing, a back-up support team reached the spot and ensured that two militants are killed," he said. "(But) In Kadalabal case, there was no reinforcement despite the fact that Road Opening Parties of CRPF and Police were already on alert."
Sources said the Srinagar-Jammu highway would remain on a "very high alert throughout the year given the fact that militants find it easy to target forces on it, especially on the stretch from Bijbehara to Sempora."
Saturday's militant ambush was fourth in a row this year on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
"This stretch has a tremendous pressure of vehicles. Militants take advantage of this heavy vehicular movement and attack forces' convoys and then flee," a senior police officer said.