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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Security forces conduct anti-terror drive in Jammu after surge in attacks

Top politicians, including Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over these incidents, saying the country needed explanations why the militants had not been caught

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 13.06.24, 05:49 AM
Army personnel near the site of the encounter between security forces and militants at Saida Sukhal village in the Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Wednesday.

Army personnel near the site of the encounter between security forces and militants at Saida Sukhal village in the Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Wednesday. PTI picture.

Security forces were engaged in multiple anti-militancy operations in four districts of Jammu on Wednesday after twin militant attacks and subsequent gunfights on Tuesday night left a CRPF jawan and two militants dead and six jawans and a civilian injured, suggesting a dramatic surge in violence in the region.

Two senior police officers — Sunil Gupta, deputy inspector-general (DIG) of Jammu, Samba and Kathua; and Anayat Ali Choudhary, Kathua senior superintendent of police (SSP) — escaped unhurt after a militant attacked their convoy on Wednesday.

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Militants fired and injured another cop from the Special Operations Group of the police on Wednesday. It was the fourth attack by militants in Jammu in four days.

The latest flare-up came just three days after a militant attack on a pilgrim bus in Jammu’s Reasi district left nine civilians dead and 33 injured.

Top politicians, including Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over these incidents, saying the country needed explanations why the militants had not been caught.

“Narendra Modi is busy responding to congratulatory messages and cannot even hear the cries of the families of the devotees who were brutally killed in Jammu
and Kashmir,” Rahul said in a post on X.

Modi has not yet reacted to these incidents.

The Reasi attack took place shortly before Modi’s swearing-in on Sunday.

The pilgrims were returning from the Shiv Khori shrine in the Ransoo area of Reasi.

The region has witnessed multiple protests by residents seeking troops deployment for their security. The manhunt in the area is still on. The forces have released sketches of the suspected militants and offered a reward of 20 lakh for information on them.

In addition to Reasi, security forces were engaged in operations in Kathua, Doda and Rajouri districts.

The fresh operations started after militants attacked a civilian home around 8pm at Saida Sukhal village in Hiranagar, Kathua district, on Tuesday, leaving a civilian injured and triggering a gunfight that continued on Wednesday.

A CRPF man and two militants were killed in a fierce exchange of fire. One militant was killed on Tuesday night and another on Wednesday.

The convoy of the DIG and the SSP received a barrage of fire during the day, but the bullets could not pierce their vehicles. One of the bullet-proof vehicles suffered damage and was towed away.

Hours after the Kathua attack, another group of militants attacked a security checkpoint in Doda at Tuesday midnight, injuring five soldiers and a policeman.

Officials said another operation was launched in the Kalal area of Nowshera in Rajouri after reports of suspi cious movement.

The additional director-general of police (Jammu), Anand Jain, said two militants were killed in Kathua but there was the possibility of more hiding in the area.

“We lost a CRPF colleague in the incident who displayed extreme bravery and achieved martyrdom. The operation continued for long hours. One terrorist was killed on Wednesday (in addition to one killed on Tuesday night) and some more terrorists could be hiding there. The operation has not been called off formally,” Jain told reporters in Jammu.

He said the forces had found IEDs, grenades, other ammunition and food on the dead militants. Earlier, the ADGP had said in a post that the militants had panicked and fired randomly on Tuesday night after residents slammed their doors on them when they asked for water.

The ADGP also said a joint operation by the army, CRPF and the police was under way at the Chattergala area of Doda following Tuesday night’s militant attack.

Militants hurled a grenade at the checkpoint and fired, leading to retaliation. The gunbattle continued until the early hours of Wednesday. The injured have been shifted to the army’s command hospital in Udhampur.

Officials said the Sunderbani, Nowshera, Domana, Lamberi and Akhnoor areas of the Rajouri and Jammu districts had been placed on high alert following warnings from intelligence agencies about suicide attacks by militants.

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