Pampore encounter: No hurry to flush out militants, says army

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Srinagar, Feb 22: The army on Monday, Feb 22 said it was in no hurry to flush out the militants holed up in a government building in Pampore area on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway as the main aim is to avoid further casualty to security forces.

As the operation against the ultras entered the third day, General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua, told reporters here, "There is no time limit. There is no hurry. Our main purpose is to make sure that we do not have anymore casualty. We will take as long as it takes to clear the building."

Also read: Fresh firing between militants, security forces in Pampore

No hurry to flush out militants: Army

The army commander said the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) is a vast campus and it requires specialised forces to clear the holed-up militants.

"Two main buildings have been cleared and now the terrorists have taken position in the (third) building. It is a huge campus of 15 acres. It has three main buildings apart from a couple of other ancillary buildings.

"This main building is four floors and a cafeteria or a canteen on top. It has 40-50 rooms, not counting the smaller rooms and toilets, and an area of 10,000 square feet. So, each of the floors has to be cleared room by room. So, specialised units are required to clear it," Dua said.

"As the operation is in progress, I will not be able to say anything more on it except that our specialised units are having complete synergy with the CAPFs (Central Armed Paramilitary Forces)," he said.

So far, the paramilitary has suffered two fatal casualties and nine other personnel have been wounded, Dua said, adding, the army lost three bravehearts, all of whom were from special forces. He said all civilians have been evacuated.

We will take as long as it takes to clear the building: Army officials

The Corps Commander said the army does not have any identification of the holed-up militants.

"As of now, we do not have any identification. It is still a work in progress," he said. Earlier, the army paid floral tributes to the two army men killed in the encounter on Sunday.

The wreath laying ceremony was held at the army's Badami Bagh headquarters here, where the army commander, along with Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, K Rajendra, paid floral tributes to the brave hearts.

"Lance Naik Om Prakash and Captain Tushar Mahajan fell to the militants' bullets yesterday. It only goes to show that our young officers are brave young leaders who always lead from the front. We are sad at the loss but these young lads have done the army and the nation proud," Dua said.

He said when the army contacted their parents, they felt very proud about the sacrifice made by their sons.

"Both the fathers are school teachers and they were very proud of their sons. To get such a reaction from a father when he gets such news, is something that does the nation proud and we can see where these young leaders got the genes of bravery from," the army commander said.

PTI

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