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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

J&K: Two captains, two jawans killed in encounter between security forces and terrorists

Top army and police officers, including Jammu region police chief Anand Jain, have rushed to the area and are monitoring the situation

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 23.11.23, 05:13 AM
Army personnel and locals carry the body of an army officer near the site of an encounter with terrorists at Kalakote area, in Rajouri district.

Army personnel and locals carry the body of an army officer near the site of an encounter with terrorists at Kalakote area, in Rajouri district. File Photo.

Two army captains and two soldiers were killed and a few jawans were injured during an encounter between security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Wednesday.

Officials said the army and the police launched a joint cordon-and-search operation to hunt down militants in the Bhajimal area of Dharamsal. During the operation, the soldiers took a massive hit from militants who apparently took advantage of the forests and lured them into a trap.

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The security forces had cordoned off a large area early on Wednesday and were inching close towards the hideout of the militants when the latter opened indiscriminate fire.

Top army and police officers, including Jammu region police chief Anand Jain, have rushed to the area and are monitoring the situation.

“At least two militants are hiding in the area. Unfortunately, we have lost young officers in the gunfight. Additional reinforcements have been rushed to the area to tighten the cordon and prevent militants from escaping,” a police officer in Jammu said.

Officials said the gunfight was underway in the evening with the trapped militants.

Jammu-based 16 Corps, also called White Knight Corps, said the operation was launched in Rajouri on November 19 based on a specific intelligence operation launched in the Gulabgarh forests of Rajouri.

“Contact established on 22 Nov and intense firefight ensued. The terrorists have been injured and surrounded and operations are in progress, amidst acts of valour and sacrifice by own bravehearts in trying to prevent collateral damage to women and children in the highest traditions of Indian army,” the army posted on X.

The post said it “salutes the supreme sacrifice” but gave no details about the casualties.

The number of times that the security forces have lost officers and men while chasing militants hiding in the forests this year suggests a definite militant strategy to take their battle to the mountains from the plains.

The forces have in the past rebuffed reports about the militant strategy to lure jawans into an ambush in dense hilly areas where they have an advantage — unlike in densely populated areas where militants are sitting ducks.

The casualties have come weeks after the army lost a colonel, a major, a deputy superintendent of police and a soldier in Kokernag forests in the Valley in September.

The Kokernag operation had dragged on for eight days and had turned into a major embarrassment for the administration, which makes frequent claims about crushing militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Rajouri and Poonch districts on the border in Jammu have seen a revival in militancy after the 2019 scrapping of special status.

Militants have carried out some major attacks on civilians and forces in the area this year.

Seven members of a minority Hindu community were killed in January on New Year’s Eve. Ten soldiers, including para commandos, were killed in two separate attacks later.

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