New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) Abdul Rouf Khan was returning to his work place, the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pampore town on Saturday, after having lunch on Saturday afternoon when he heard gunshots and blasts.
Initially, the skills trainer in his late 20s had no idea that the multi-storied building was under attack but it took only a few seconds for Khan and his colleagues to realise the horrific truth.
Khan who had reached inside when the unknown assailants stormed the building, had a first-hand view of the gunmen who advised him and others — 120-130 people — to keep calm and leave the building.
“Our target is security men, not you… keep calm and leave the building, shouted one of the gunmen in Urdu language,” the traumatized Khan told IANS in a telephonic interview from Pampore.
The attackers, reportedly three to four in all, seemed in a hurry and were directing each other frantically.
There were some 120-130 people including staff inside the building at the time of the attack besides about 50 trainees.
“I was terrified and started reciting the verses of the holy Quran, when we heard the gun shots… it was the most horrific scene one can ever experience,” said Khan.
At least two troopers and a civilian were killed and 10 other people including civilians injured in the gunfight, which ensued after the militants attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and then entered the EDI.
The gunbattle was still on and at least three militants are believed to be holed up inside the institute. The area has been cordoned off and barricades put in place on the roads leading to the EDI bulding.
(Aadil Mir can be contacted at email@example.com)