3 CRPF jawans including 14 yrs boy killed in Handwara terrorist attack

SRINAGAR: Four people — three CRPF jawans and a physically challenged boy of 14 years — were killed when several terrorists attacked a group of CRPF personnel in Handwara tehsil’s Wangam village on Monday evening, barely a day after four Army soldiers, including a colonel and a major, and a police SI were killed fighting terrorists in the same tehsil.
The band of terrorists managed to escape under cover of darkness and a search operation was underway at the time this report was filed.
Separately, terrorists threw a hand grenade towards the CISF bunker at the power grid at Wagoora, in Budgam district of central Kashmir, on Monday evening. One CISF jawan was injured when the terrorists opened fire. The injured CISF jawan was identified as Constable Akash Kumar, sources said.
Intelligence reports suggest that there are terrorists on the prowl in Srinagar city as well, sources said.
The CRPF men were attacked at about 5.32 pm while they were helping the Jammu and Kashmir police enforce the Covid-19 lockdown in Wangam village, Handwara. The slain jawans were identified as Constables Santosh Mishra, Chandra Shekhar and Ashwani Kumar Yadav of the CRPF’s 92 Battalion.
Two CRPF men were killed on the spot. “Three jawans attained martyrdom in the terror attack in the evening. Two of them died on the spot and a third succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital,” CRPF PRO Pankaj Singh said.
The teenage boy killed was identified as Hazmi Shafi Bhat, a shepherd boy who was out grazing his flock, along with other boys. Being physically challenged, he was unable to get away quickly enough, CRPF Assistant Commandant Junaid Khan said.
When the attack began, the paramilitary personnel retaliated and the initial exchange of fire lasted about five minutes. When the guns fell silent, one more body was spotted near the shootout site; it turned out to be that of the physically challenged teenager.
Soon after the attack, additional reinforcement from the Army, Special Operations Group (J&K police), and CRPF launched a massive search operation to hunt down the terrorists responsible for the killings.
Sources said more than two terrorists were involved in the attack which came barely 24 hours after an Army colonel, a major, two soldiers and a police sub-inspector, besides two militants, were killed in an overnight gunfight in Chanjimulla area of Handwara, Kupwara district.
The initial probe into the face-offs at Handwara is aimed at ascertaining if the terrorists had taken away the bullet-proof jackets of the Indian security personnel, a source in the intelligence establishment in New Delhi said.
A video circulated on pro-jihadi Telegram channels on Monday hinted at this possibility as two terrorists were seen wearing bullet-proof vests and reciting religious verses. The agencies are verifying the content of the video and the identity of the two men seen in it.
Regarding “The Resistance Front”, or “TRF”, which has gained prominence after claiming the Handwara attacks, including the one carried out on Monday, intelligence sources said the outfit was merely an online, virtual identity acting as a mouthpiece for Pakistan- and PoK-based terror outfits like the Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Meanwhile, the security forces said they had arrested a “militant associate” and recovered ammunition from him in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. An official said a joint team of the 46 RR, CRPF’s 53 Battalion and the SOG, acting on a specific tipoff, had set up a naka near Sheeri police station, in Baramulla district, and one militant associate was apprehended with hundreds of AK-47 rounds and one grenade. The arrested man was identified as Umer Mushtaq Khan from Sopore, currently a resident of Srinagar and the brother of a militant who was killed in an encounter along with one Naveed Jatt, a terrorist from Pakistan.