JCO, 12 militants killed in Gurez
Pak Army boats, GPS used in current year’s biggest infiltration bid
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Authoritative sources told Early Times that a fierce gunbattle took place between a group of infiltrating militants and troops of 15th Bn of Maratha Light Infantry near Izmarg post of the Indian Army in Bagtoor-Kanzalwan belt of Gurez sector, in northeast
Kashmir, during last night. Sources said that troops on the vigil spotted some movement in Kishen Ganga river, known as Neelam River across LoC in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, through NVGs and sensors.
As soon as it became clear that either militants or Pakistani soldiers in combat uniform were crossing the river in two boats, troops opened fire. It triggered off a fierce gunbattle that lasted for several hours. One JCO got killed and two more injured in the operation. Even as the firing subsided by the morning, troops launched a combing operation. By late this afternoon, Army claimed to have killed all the 12 militants who, according to it, were infiltrating through boats. Kishen Ganga, or Neelam, serves as the de facto LoC at many places, including Bangtoor, in Gurez sector.
Spokesman at headquarters 15 Corps, Lt Col J S Brar, told Early Times that troops have killed all the 12 militants who were crossing the river by two inflated boats. He said that both the boats had been seized and dead bodies of six militants, alongwith their arms and ammunition, had been recovered on Izmarg shore of the Kishen Ganga. He said that six more bodies were believed to have flown to Neelam area of PoK. He said that firing had subsided but troops were still in the middle of a combing operation to see if any of the militants had managed to hide or escape.
Police sources, however, maintained that none of the dead bodies, or weapons claimed to have been recovered, had been handed over to it anywhere in Police district Bandipore till late tonight.
Earlier today, Army’s press release claimed that 12 infiltrators and a Lieutenant had died in the current year’s biggest ever infiltration attempt in
. It said that sophisticated inflated boats had been used for the first time by militants in infiltration from PoK to Kashmir valley or Jammu and Kashmir . Jammu
“Today morning, in the wee hours, at around 1 A.M., our alert troops deployed on the Line of Control near Bagtor village in Gurez Sector of Bandipora District in
North Kashmir intercepted a group of terrorists trying to infiltrate from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The group was intercepted when they were trying to cross the in a Pneumatic boat. Kishanganga River at many places is the de-facto Line of Control between the two sides”, said the press release, quoting Lt Col Brar. Kishanganga River
“This is certainly a new development. The terrorists were also carrying an inflatable five- man Dinghy. When contacted while crossing, a heavy exchange of gunfire ensued. While they tried to come ashore, six terrorists were killed and they fell into the river. Six more terrorists were killed near the shore in a fierce encounter. Five AK rifles, one Pistol, two boats, 50 assorted grenades, two radio sets, two compasses and one Global Positioning System besides a large quantity of war like stores were recovered till reports last came in”, it added.
“In this operation, we lost a gallant officer, Lieutenant Navdeep Singh, besides injury to two of our jawans. A lively 26 year old officer, Navdeep was commissioned in March this year into the Army Ordnance Corps and was serving in 15th Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry. The operation is still on to comb the neighbouring dense forests in the area”, it further added.
Officials said that as many as 30 militants had died in 8 infiltration attempts during current month but today’s was the biggest ever since beginning of the year. They said that half-a-dozen soldiers had also got killed in these gunbattles on the LoC. They said that the sophisticated rafting boats, meticulously installed on two wooden boats, besides seizure of GPS units and the commando uniform used by all the 12 infiltrators, were a clear indication that Pakistani regular troops had facilitated today’s infiltration.
Meanwhile, yet another gunbattle began between militants and security forces in Hafruda forest area of Handwara where troops of 31 Para and RR 6th Bn launched a cordon-and-search operation in the afternoon today. Exchange of gunfire was happening intermittently since afternoon but reports of any casualty had not been received till late this evening.