CRPF commandant Pramod Kumar �was killed in a gun battle with militants in Srinagar�s old city area of Nowhatta on Independence Day on Monday, had virtually rushed to his death. At 8.29 am commandant Kumar unfurled the national flag at the office of the CRPF�s Deputy Inspector General in the city�s Karan Nagar area. In his speech, Kumar asked his men to do their best to uphold the integrity of the country. �We are not only faced with terrorism but also stone pelting in Kashmir. I urge you to undertake the duties assigned to you honestly to uphold the integrity, solidarity and freedom of that we achieved after immense struggle,�� he said. Kumar also read out a message by DG CRPF for jawans on the occasion. According to CRPF sources, the news of the encounter about three kilometres away in Nowhatta reached the officer around the same time. Commandant Kumar rushed with his team to the spot and was shot at an hour later. �He was leading from the front, when he was shot,�� CRPF spokesperson Bhavesh Choudhary told. Choudhary says bullets from Kumar�s weapon might have killed one of the two militants who were neutralised in the encounter which lasted around four hours. Kumar had sustained a fatal gunshot wounds in the neck. He was rushed to the base hospital in Srinagar in a state of coma. By noon, he was declared dead. Eight CRPF men were also injured in the encounter while a Jammu and Kashmir police officer, who was shot in the head, is battling for his life. According to a CRPF statement, its troops came under fire and grenade attack at four places in Srinagar � at Nowhatta Chowk, Gojwara Chowk, Bata Gali and Khaniyar Chowk. Kashmir watchers said it was after more than a decade that militants had attacked security forces in the old city. �An encounter took place in old city recently but it was based on a specific information that cordon was laid and two militants were killed,� said a police official. Monday�s attack came even as chief minister Mehbooba Mufti in her first Independence Day speech said guns would not solve any problem. In an emotional appeal to the youth, Mufti cautioned them against being led by �vested interests� and prevent Kashmir from turning into another Syria or Afghanistan.
CRPF officer killed in encounter hour after unfurled tricolour in Srinagar