At least, five militants and three soldiers were killed and three more injured in a fierce gunfight raging in a snowbound area close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s north-western Kupwara district since Sunday morning.
The Army officials in Srinagar said that the fighting broke out after the Indian troops deployed along the de facto border in Keran sector noticed movement of a large number of infiltrators.
“They were challenged and asked to surrender which they refused. In the ensuing gunfight five of them have been killed and three of our jawans also laid down their lives,” an Army official said.
Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said, “So far, our alert troops have while braving inclement weather and hostile terrain eliminated five terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate into our side of the LoC after taking advantage of bad weather.”
He said that one Army jawan was killed while fighting the militants and two of those critically injured in the clash succumbed soon thereafter. In a WhatsApp message to this newspaper, he said “In this operation, one soldier has been martyred and two more are critically injured. Evacuation of the injured is hampered due to heavy snow and rough terrain conditions.” In a subsequent message, the defence spokesman said, “Despite prevailing inclement weather conditions, casualties have been evacuated. Unfortunately, two more soldiers succumbed to their injuries. Others are presently undergoing treatment.” The spokesman added that the operation was underway as reports last came in.
The police sources said that the Army had launched a search operation in the area three days ago and that helicopters were also used for surveillance and tracking down the movement of militants.
On Saturday, four Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants were killed in a 12-hour-long gunfight with security forces in J&K’s southern Kulgam district. Two Army soldiers were injured in the clash which also left, at least, three residential houses razed to ground or extensively damaged in fire set off by the fierce fighting.
With these killing the number of those killed in such and similar incidents in J&K, so far, this year has risen to 71. The slain include 54 militants, 9 security personnel and 8 civilians.
Meanwhile, an Army jawan identified as Sepoy Satendra Kumar Tomar committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifle in J&K’s northern Bandipore district on Sunday.
The police said that the soldier, a resident of Madhya Pradesh and deployed with 14 Rashtriya Rifles, shot himself dead at 3. 45 am while on duty in Bandipore’s Pannar area. On hearing the gunshot, his colleagues rushed to the spot but found him dead already. The Army said that the reason for the soldier’s taking this extreme step was not known immediately....