Soldier, LeT Ultra Killed in J&K

Lashkar-e-Taiba's most wanted commander among two Pak terrorists gunned down in J&K encounter

Srinagar: An Army personnel was killed while another ‘hardcore terrorist’ from Pakistan and a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant were also gunned down as gunfight raged on for the second day in Solki, a remote part of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Thursday.

The Army personnel was identified as Lance Naik Sanjay Bist, a native of Uttarakhand. He was the fifth Army personnel to lay down his life in two days.

On Wednesday, Captain M. V. Pranjal of 63 Rashtriya Rifles, Captain Shubham Gupta of 9 Para (Special Forces), Havildar Abdul Majid of the Special Force, were killed while a Major and a Sepoy were injured. Sources in the Army said the condition of the duo undergoing treatment in the Army Command Hospital is stable.

The Army sources said the LeT commander, known by his alias Quari, was active in the Rajouri-Poonch belt for one year. “He was a Pakistani national and hardcore terrorist who had been trained on the Pak-Afghan front. He was a highly ranked terrorist leader of the LeT and was active in Rajouri-Poonch along with his group from past one year,” sources said, adding that Quari was also an expert in IED fabrication, a trained sniper and operated from the caves in the Rajouri-Poonch belt bordering the Line of Control (LoC).

The police and Army officials said on Thursday evening that the operation was in its final phase and that the identity of the second slain militant is being ascertained.

The Army’s Nagrota (Jammu)-based White Knight Corps (16 Corps) in a post on ‘X’ said, “Op SOLKI: In a continuation of the operation, a hard-core top #LeT commander, Quari and his associate were eliminated and large quantities of war-like stores have been recovered. Quari was known to be the mastermind behind #Dangri incident, in which six innocent civilians were killed in January 23, as well as #Kandi attacks in the #rajouri #poonch areas. He was instrumental in the revival of terrorism in these districts.”
The Army had said on Wednesday that the intelligence-based joint operations in the area were launched by the 63 Rashtriya Rifles and the J&K police on November 19 and the contact with the holed-up militants was established earlier during the day on November 22. They were soon also joined by the members of the elite Para (Special Forces), also known as Para Commandos. It had added that the Army suffered casualties while trying to prevent collateral damage to women and children of the area.

The J&K police officials said that it were the locals who had informed them about the presence of militants in Rajouri’s Bajimaal.

The gunfight at Solki comes days after a similar clash took place at Behrote in Rajouri’s Budhal area on November 17, in which one militant was killed. Earlier two ambushes by militants in Rajouri’s Kandi Forest area and in the Mendhar area of neighbouring Poonch district on May 5 and April 20, respectively, had left ten Army jawans dead.

The encounter at Solki is the second major incident in the past ten weeks in which the security forces have suffered heavy casualties at the hands of militants. On September 13, an Army Colonel and a Major and a deputy superintendent of local police were killed, and another security official was critically injured in a gunfight with the separatists in the Kokernag area of the Kashmir Valley’s southern Anantnag district.

As per the official statistics, 18 security personnel and 27 militants and seven civilians have been killed in clashes in Rajouri-Poonch and another district of Jammu region, so far, this year. In the entire J&K, 124 people including 83 militants and 29 security personnel, have been killed in militancy-related violence this year, they said.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, while paying tributes to “brave soldiers who made supreme sacrifice" in a recent gun battle with militants had pledged, “We shall deal with evil designs of terrorists and their backers in a befitting manner.” However, former chief minister and opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti has said that the killing of six Army personnel in Rajouri and similar incidents that took place in J&K in the recent past belie the government’s claim that peace has returned to the region.

She said, “It is heartbreaking to see officers and jawans losing their lives in the line of duty despite the Government of India’s misleading false claims that all is well in J&K”. She added, “The price of this facade is being borne by them and innocent civilians who have become collateral damage in unabated violence.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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