Srinagar: 2010's 1st attack, a diversion tactic?
The 22-hour long encounter between terrorists and security personnel ended shortly before noon on Thursday, Jan 7 with both the terrorists being killed.
The terror attack started at around 2 pm on Wednesday, Jan 6 when four terrorists attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) picket in Lal Chowk, at the heart of Srinagar.
The fidayeen (suicide squad) terrorists hurled grenades at the troopers and started firing indiscriminately.
While two terrorists managed to escape, two of them managed to take Hotel Punjab under siege.
Security forces and the militants were locked in a gunbattle for 22 hours. After civilians were rescued from the hotel during night operations, the security forces launched a final assault on Jan 7 morning.
One of the terrorists was killed about an hour into the final operation while the other tried to set the building on fire.
The visuals showed smoke arising from the building even as heavy firing was heard in the backdrop.
Three people were killed in the attacks. While two CRPF men were killed on Wednesday, Jan 6, one more succumbed to his wounds on Thursday, Jan 7.
About 10 people were injured in the attack, including civilians, and a TV news cameraman.
While Jamiet-e-Mujahideen, a local militant outfit, claimed responsibility for the attack on Jan 6 evening, Srinagar police said that both the terrorists belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Out of the two militants killed, one was a Pakistani national and the other was identified as a local.
This was the country's first fight against terrorism in the new year of 2010. The way the terrorists struck and took control of Srinagar reminded the country of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, and the media termed Srinagar as 'second Mumbai'.
The Jan 2010 fidayeen attack came two years after the Nov 11, 2007 attack when militants barged into a hotel occupied by CRPF on the banks of the Dal Lake.
These suicide attacks by terrorists are often seen as an effort to divert the troops from the borders, apart from creating panic among civilians.
Now that the doubts and questions of the attacks being a diversion tactic have already come up, the nation has to wonder if it will be forced to witness a violent year ahead.