Major terror strike ahead of PM's Jammu visit foiled
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Yusuf Jameel
SRINAGAR: An assistant sub-inspector of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and two militants believed to be members of proscribed Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) were killed on Friday and at least nine several security forces personnel injured in a gunfight that broke out close to an Army camp in Sunjwan on the periphery of Jammu and Kashmir's winter capital Jammu.
The officials said that a group of apparent ‘fidayeen’ was trapped in a private house in Jalalabad quarter of Sunjwan following the J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched an operation on specific input that the militants were planning to carry out a major terror strike ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to neighbouring Samba district on Sunday.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to address a ‘grand function’ at Palli in Samba district to mark the Panchayat Raj Day, 2022. This would be his first visit to J&K since the Centre in a controversial move stripped the erstwhile state of its special status on August 5, 2019, and split it up into two union territories.
The officials said that following the outbreak of gunfight at Sunjwan the internet services were snapped and schools shut for the day in some parts of Jammu "as a precautionary measure".
J&K's Director General of Police, Dilbagh Singh, told reporters, "Both the terrorists have been killed". He said the slain militants were wearing ‘fidayeen vests’ and were apparently tasked to carry out a major terror strike ahead of the Prime Minister’s but there are no inputs to suggest they had planned to target the rally he is scheduled to address in Samba itself. He said that from the available evidence and intelligence inputs, the duo belonged to the JeM and were part of a fresh group of infiltrators.
"Both of them were foreigners and were tasked to either target a security camp or to engage large number of security forces to inflict maximum casualties," he said adding that the duo was aiming to strike in a big was ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit "but timely action by our alert forces has foiled the design."
He said the recoveries from the encounter site included three AK-47 rifles, grenades, magazines, eatables, medicines, energy drinks, etc. "Some of these items are usually found in the use of fidayeen," the DGP said. Asked about the possibility of the presence of more militants in the area, the police chief said that as of now it seemed that only two militants had come there and that since they had no old history, they had, most probably, infiltrated from across the border with Pakistan recently "just to carry out a big strike."
Earlier, Additional Director General of Police (Jammu), Mukesh Singh, had said that there were specific inputs that militants were planning to "do something big" and based on it, a cordon was launched at Jalalabad and "there was firing."
He had said, "So far, two terrorists have been killed and two AK-47 rifles, some other arms and ammunition, satellite phones and some documents found at the encounter site. It appears they were 'fidayeen' attackers. Operation is underway."
The slain CISF ASI has been identified as S.P. Patel and the injured are J&K police Head Constable Balraj Singh, SPO Sahil Sharma, CISF’s Parmod Patra of Odisha and Amir Soran of Assam.
However, the CISF officials said that militants targeted a bus carrying 15 personnel of the force at 4.25 am near the Chaddha camp in Sunjwan with gunfire and hurling hand grenades at it. This resulted in the on-the-spot death of ASI Patil and injuries to two other personnel, they said.
They also said that when the CISF men retaliated "effectively", the militants ran away and took shelter in the house of one Muhammad Anwar in Jalalabad locality of Sunjwan.
Officials said that mobile Internet services were partially suspended in parts of Jammu including Sunjwan, Bathandi, Narwal, Bahu Fort and Malik Market of Bahu tehsil while schools within 5-km radius of Sunjwan encounter site will remain closed on Friday as a precautionary measure in view of ongoing encounter in the city outskirts.
The movement of civilians in Sunjwan and Bathandi areas was restricted with barriers put on the National Highway to halt any type of vehicular movement.
Meanwhile, the authorities have confirmed that all four militants including Lashkar-e-Tayyaba's "long-surviving " commander Yusuf Kantroo have been killed in the gunfight that broke out in Malwah village of frontier Baramulla district on Wednesday night.