SRINAGAR NEWS

Ten killed in major gunbattle in Kupwara

SRINAGAR:While foiling a fresh attempt of infiltration, Police and security forces have killed five terrorists even as equal number of soldiers and Policemen have attained martyrdom in the operation still underway in Kupwara district of Kashmir.
Highly placed authoritative sources said that immediately after receiving specific information about infiltration of a seven-member group of heavily armed terrorists, troops, along with CRPF and J&K Police, laid an ambush in forest cover around Chak Fatehkhan, Helmatpora, about 5 Km from district headquarters of Kupwara on Tuesday evening. Later in the evening, a fierce gunbattle ensued when all the seven terrorists fell in the ambush.
In the 24-hour-long gunbattle, which was still underway, five terrorists got killed while as two of them were still holed up and fighting the troops. Defence officials insisted that there was little possibility of the two terrorists escaping from the cordoned area. They said that remaining two terrorists would be eliminated by Thursday forenoon.
The security forces’ success though did not come without paying a price. “Three soldiers and two men of J&K Police attained martyrdom in this operation. Three more are injured but stable at a hospital”, said an official. He maintained that organisational affiliation of the terrorists was not clear but most of the officers in Army and J&K Police believed it to be a Jaish-e-Mohammad group of Pakistani terrorists.
Officials identified the slain personnel as Havaldar Zorawar of 3 JAK Rifles who was attached with 160 Territorial Army (TA), Mohammad Ashraf Rather of same TA battalion (resident of Rishigund Kupwara), Naik Ranjeet Khalho of 5 Bihar, SPO Mohammad Yousuf Cheche of Kachama, Kupwara and Deepak Pandit of Nagrota, Jammu.
IGP Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani, confirmed death of five terrorists and five personnel—three of Army and two of J&K Police. He said that the operation was still going on as the troops believed that two more terrorists were still holed up. According to him, it could be a group of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba or Jaish-e-Mohammad cadres.
Sources said that Army employed sophisticated electronic gadgetry to track down the terrorists and maintained surveillance over them with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles, leaving no scope of their hiding or escaping. Rifleman Abdul Majid Bajad of Territorial Army 160 Bn was reportedly missing. However, immediately there was no indication of his being dead or critically injured. Reinforcement from 5-Bihar and 4- Special Forces joined the operation in the afternoon.
Defence and Police officers said that infiltration of freshly trained and indoctrinated terrorists had begun earlier this spring due to extremely low snowfall in the winter. “We have received reports that attempts of infiltration from Pakistan would intensify and continue for the next few months”, said an Army officer. “But we are prepared to deal with all these attempts. We are sure that not more than 10 per cent of the launched terrorists would reach our hinterland as we kill maximum of them either on the LoC or in the border districts of Kupwara and Baramulla”, he asserted.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti paid rich tributes to the security forces’ personnel killed in a fierce gunbattle in Kupwara district on Wednesday.
In a statement issued by the information department, the chief minister paid rich tributes to the security forces who laid down their lives in the operation.
She expressed solidarity with the bereaved families of the deceased and prayed for peace to the departed souls, the release said.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh also paid rich tributes to the security personnel who were martyred in Halmatpora Kupwara gunfight on Wednesday.

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