The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Terror chill on Chenab

Akhnoor, Oct. 27: Two of the three militants who tried to blow up the railway tracks at Jatwal to target the Shalimar Express last night were killed after a long gun-battle across the Chenab this afternoon.

The militants had tried to blast the tracks between Sambha and Gagwal stations an hour after the Delhi-bound train left Jammu Tawi station last night. Although the train derailed, there were no casualties and nobody was injured.

Having failed to blow up the Shalimar Express, the militants commandeered a car on the Jammu-Pathankot Highway by killing two of its occupants. While pushing out the other two occupants, the militants said they intended to strike an army installation in Poonch. As they made their way along the 80-km route to north Jammu, they abandoned the car and hijacked a Tata Sumo driven by a Jammu driver, Faisal Ahmad.

They had reached Akhnoor when Anil Kumar, a sentry at a bridge, stopped the car around 11.55 pm. Fearing that their Poonch plans would be foiled, the militants shot him dead. But the gunshots alerted troops stationed nearby, who rushed to the spot.

The encounter, which began around midnight, concluded at 1.30 pm today.

The soldiers flattened the tyres of the Sumo and chased the militants, who tried to flee. A gun-battle raged, in which the troops took care to ensure they did not lose men and munitions.

Two of the militants were killed in the encounter as also an equal number of soldiers. Four soldiers were injured, along with a cameraman of a news channel.

Brigadier Ravi Tushir of the 10th Division said afterwards that the militantsí plan of striking at military targets had been foiled. But as the soldiers celebrated their success, Major B.G.R. Subramaniyam was critically injured when the explosives strapped to the body of a militant exploded as he tried to turn over the corpse.

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