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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Police or security forces have 'looted' 14 LCDs, computers, mattresses, blankets from EDI guesthouse

Officials draft FIR, claim that none else was present around the unharmed guesthouse during 56-hour-long gunfight at nearby hostel block

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Oct 14: Police or security forces have allegedly “looted” costly articles from the guesthouse of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) that remained unharmed during 56-hour-long gunfight at the seven-storey hostel block on the premises near Pampore on October 10 and 11.

EDI officials have made an inventory of the articles missing from the three-storey guesthouse and they are filing a report with Police Station Pampore on Saturday. Informed sources revealed to STATE TIMES that the inventory makes mention of 14 LCDs, one or two computers and a number of mattresses and blankets that, according to them, have been “stolen and looted” either by the Police or by security forces after the gunfight ended with the death of two holed up militants on Tuesday.

According to these sources, incharge of the guesthouse, namely Mohammad Maqbool, had kept all the rooms of the building unlocked before he and two other employees moved out when it became clear that the militants had occupied the seven-storey hostel block, around 40 yards away on a lower level. The militants had opened fire when fire brigade personnel began dousing the flames on the 7th floor of the hostel block.

The hostel block, which had 60 rooms, each with an attached bathroom, was extensively damaged in the gunfight. Officials say over 200 rockets, several IEDs, mortar fire and 2000 litre of petrol was used to bring down the building but it did not collapse. Finally the militants were killed in a face-to-face encounter inside the concrete building.

On February 20-22 this year, EDI's main administrative block had been extensively damaged in a similar fidayeen attack when three militants, two CRPF men, one gardener of EDI and three Special Force personnel, including two young captains, had got killed in the three-day-long operation.

Thereafter, the makeshift offices had been operating from the lofty seven-storey hostel block with an attic on its top. Now, EDI has shifted its administrative offices to the guesthouse — the last building which is intact on the premises.

Special Operations Group (SOG) of District Police Awantipore, a company of CRPF 110 battalion besides different units of Army’s Special Forces carried out the operation for two days. Significantly, the guesthouse did not suffer any damage during the encounter.

Ground floor of the guesthouse has a dining hall, kitchen, stores and other facilities of the housekeeping. Its first floor has 8 fully furnished rooms and the second floor has 5 special guest suites. According to the sources, the LCD TVs with all set top boxes have been removed and taken away from all the 13 rooms besides one in the dining hall. One or two computer systems have also been stolen. It has been observed that even the Dunlop mattresses and blankets have also been taken away from several rooms.

There was no possibility of any civilian’s breaking into the guesthouse as the Police and security forces remained camped on the premises in thick numbers for about four days. Therefore, the EDI officials’ first suspects are none other than the Police and security forces who were present there without break.

While as the Defence spokesman was not reachable, CRPF spokesman Rajesh Yadav said that he would check with the concerned battalion that falls under jurisdiction of another sector and get back with the facts. Director General of Police, K Rajendra Kumar, and IGP Kashmir, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani, told STATE TIMES that they would seek details from the concerned Police station and share the same with this newspaper. This did not become possible until filing of this story around midnight and will be carried in a follow up.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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