| The house where the encounter took place. (PTI)
Ahmedabad, March 17: When a team led by inspector Tarun Barot knocked on the door of a single-storeyed house at Vatva with a search warrant, it was greeted by a volley of fire, shattering the early-morning calm.
In the shootout that followed, four alleged militants who were inside one of the two bedrooms were injured. According to police, who said the militants belonged to the Harkat-ul Mujahideen, the four died on way to the hospital.
Joint police commissioner P.P. Pande said they were on a mission to carry out blasts and assassinate public figures. The police had received intelligence inputs that some Kashmir militants had been frequently visiting Ahmedabad for the past two months to develop a network to carry out terrorist activities, he added.
After the recent blasts at Kalupur station in Ahmedabad and Varanasi, the police here were on high alert as Gujarat has been a militant target since the 2002 riots, Pande said.
Yesterday, the police received information about four suspicious youths staying in a rented house at Vatva, a lower middle-class area.
Barot, who is with the crime branch, was hit in the exchange of fire that took place after 3 am but was saved as he was wearing a bullet-proof jacket.
Four pistols, one kg of explosives, three phones (two with local SIM cards), one CD, Rs 1.21 lakh in cash and some literature in Urdu were recovered from the slain militants. “The explosives appear to be RDX. But nothing can be said conclusively until the forensic examination,” Pande said.
Gujarat police are contacting investigating agencies in Delhi and Srinagar to establish the identity of the youths.
Two of them, wearing black trousers, had a fair complexion and could be Kashmiris. The other two looked like any average Gujarati.
One of the four appeared to be in his mid-30s and the others in their early 20s.
The manner in which the four confronted the crime branch team by opening fire has led the police to believe that they were trained militants belonging to the Harkat, which has been trying to spread its network outside Kashmir.