Srinagar: Two Army jawans were killed and four others injured in a militant ambush on an Army convoy at Qazigund, the gateway to the Kashmir Valley from the south on Saturday.
The police and Army sources said that the convoy came under the militant gunfire at Lower Munda, Qazigund along the Srinagar-Jammu highway while moving to Srinagar from the garrison town of Udhampur. A Road Opening Party (ROP) in the area retaliated to the militant firing, triggering an encounter between the two sides which was under way when reports last came in. Reinforcements from the Army, J&K police and CRPF joined the operation but the assailants were reported to have fled the area.
The sources said that six soldiers on board a vehicle which was part of the convoy were injured. Two of them succumbed in hospital. The other injured soldiers were brought to Srinagar-based 92 Base Hospital of the Army, the sources added.
The Srinagar-Jammu highway was immediately shut for the vehicular traffic, reports said.
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit claimed the responsibility for the attack and said that four soldiers were killed and seven others injured. “The injured troopers according to the reports are in critical condition,” its operational commander Mehmood Ghaznavi was quoted as saying in a statement. He also said that the militants involved in the act would be given ‘cash rewards’ and warned of more such attacks in coming days.
The attack came on a day when Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, said that the situation in Kashmir has seen considerable improvement and that the government will have a complete control over the situation soon. He told reporters in New Delhi, “The situation in Kashmir has seen a lot of improvement and we can assure that the government will get the situation under control. Despite having a large Muslim population, ISIS has been unable to establish a hold in India.” He added, “We have been successful in countering the challenges posed by the ISIS.”
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army again violated the ceasefire agreement by resorting to unprovoked firing towards the Indian positions and civilians areas in Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on Friday night. At least, one civilian was injured, the officials said adding that the Army has retaliated to the Pakistani firing.
Earlier on Thursday, two civilians were injured in shelling by Pakistan in the same sector.
Amid the flare up, the Army Chief general Bipin Rawat on Saturday visited the LoC formations and units in North Kashmir “where he was briefed on all aspects of operational and logistical preparedness” a defence spokesman here said.
He added that Gen. Rawta “was appreciative of the measures put in place to meet any challenge posed by elements inimical to national security and complimented the troops for the recent successful counter infiltration operations that had delivered a major blow to the adversary”.
He further said. “Exhorting all soldiers deployed in the Valley to continue utmost vigil and operational focus, the Army Chief reassured them of the entire nation’s pride and support for their endeavours”. “Gen. Rawat said that it was a privilege for every soldier to be entrusted with the safety, security and integrity of his country and that we must always be prepared to live up to that trust and confidence.”