Fidayeen' Storm Media Enclave In Srinagar; 2 Killed
9 March 2004
Srinagar: Two militants who stormed a building housing the Press Information Bureau and the State Information Department in the Press Enclave on Residency Road here this evening were shot dead by security forces in a late-night operation. The building caught fire and was completely damaged. Two soldiers from the Special Service Bureau (SSB) were injured. The Press Enclave houses the offices of local newspapers and correspondents of national and international media organisations. The Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir zone, K. Rajindra Kumar, who was leading the operation till 11.30 p.m., said that both the militants forced their entry into the building at 6.15 p.m. One of them, who set the building on fire, tried to escape but was fired upon and the grenades tied to his body exploded, blowing him to pieces. The other militant was shot dead. Earlier, a fierce gunbattle raged throughout the evening to flush out the militants holed up in the building. The security forces had put a tight cordon to prevent the militants from fleeing. A report said the security forces used teargas shells to flush out the militants. Three SSB jawans in the building jumped out to safety. The entire area had been sealed and large reinforcements from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Border Security Force and the SSB were called in. The cordon would continue till tomorrow as there could be more explosives in the building. Eyewitnesses said the militants had stormed the building hurling grenades and firing indiscriminately from automatic weapons. Later, they took position inside. Darban Singh, one of the injured jawans, told The Hindu that he saw two militants running towards the building and causing explosions. 'I saw one going up and have no idea about his accomplice.' Both Darban Singh and his colleague, Jagdish, suffered multiple injuries but are out of danger. Besides the SSB personnel, an unspecified number of family members of journalists were trapped in the area. The Al-Mansureen militant outfit has owned up the attack. A spokesman for the outfit told a local news agency, CNS, that three members of a 'fidayeen' squad had staged the attack in response to the Governor, Lt. Gen. S.K. Sinha's statement that the 'fidayeen' had been wiped out from Srinagar city. Such attacks would continue, the militant spokesman said.