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Sunjwan camp terror attack: Operation called off; sanitisation on
Pak will pay for its misadventure: Sitharaman
`Cantt’s demography, adjoining area indicates local support’
Shuchismita
JAMMU, Feb 12: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Monday asserted that Pakistan would have to pay for its misadventure (attack on.Sunjwan Military Station) though she did not spell out as “how it would be paid back.”

“We’ll continue to give clinching evidences to Pakistan to prove its involvement for everyone to see. So giving that, that’s not a denial to our right to respond adequately at the time which we think fit. Pak will pay for its misadventure. While expressing my deepest condolences on loss of lives of our brave soldiers and their families during the dastardly attack of cowardice on our unarmed soldiers, I assure our nation that their sacrifice would not go in vain,” she added.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan had warned India against any cross-border raid after attack.

With regard to police FIR against Major Aditya, she reiterated that the Centre, her ministry and she herself as the Defence Minister would stand by the army and there should be no doubt about it.

The Defence Minister was addressing a presser here today after concluding her day long visit during which she visited the Military Hospital Satwari and Sunjwan Military Station.

Regarding terror attack, without mincing words, she stated that the “terrorists belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad sponsored by Azhar Masood, residing in Pakistan and deriving support from there in.”

She unambiguously talked about element of “local support” behind the attack but refrained from directly referring to Rohingyas or any other section even after confronted with a direct query on it.

Her oblique reference was, “The demography of the cantonment and adjoining area indicates the possibility of local support to the terrorists.” She, however, stated the evidences or inputs gathered would be shared with the J&K Police and the government.

On this account, she further added, “Three terrorists have been eliminated although there was information of four terrorists in the area. It is likely that the fourth terrorist was a guide and may not have entered the premises. The Jaish-e-Mohammed module which conducted the attack may have infiltrated sometime back and there is a possibility of them having enjoyed local support before the final operations.”

About “handlers controlling the terrorists from across the border”, she said that this was being scrutinized by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

“Our Intelligence inputs indicate that these terrorists were being controlled by their handlers from across the border. The evidence is being scrutinized by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which shall soon furnish a detailed report,” she said.

Earlier she informed, “Counter insurgency terrorist operations at Sunjwan were called off today at 1030 hours, however, the sanitization operations are on.”

"All the evidences collected have been compiled. With the Home Ministry and MEA, we’ll coordinate our actions. Definitely the evidences collected will, as always, be given to Pakistan. Yes, even after giving dossiers after dossiers, Pakistan has not taken any action. On the contrary, the people who are directly responsible for Mumbai and many other attacks, Mumbai attack in particular, are free and roaming there. Still we’ll be providing evidences to Pakistan. It’ll be a continuous process to prove that the handlers are back in Pakistan who are influencing. Nevertheless, Pakistan will have to pay for this misadventure,” she reiterated.

ON SECURITY SITUATION IN KASHMIR: When asked whether she observed any improvement in Kashmir in the wake of ‘Operation All Out’ or `pro-active military actions”, her response was, “Whether the situation has improved or not in the Kashmir, I won’t comment on it. But we, in coordination with MHA and MEA, are working and will be working along with the government to improve situation there.”

ON FIR AGAINST MAJOR ADITYA: Responding to a number of questions regarding filing of FIR against Major Aditya in Shopian firing case wherein three civilians died, she said, “Supreme Court in response a petition of father of Major has given a 15 day stay on the FIR itself. We'll have to see how it goes. We have to stand by our proud soldiers and Army and in the call of duty if they have performed something it has to be contextualized. Subject to verification, even the Defence Ministry has to respond to the Supreme Court."

“The Defence Ministry, I, as the Defence Minister, the Prime Minister and our leadership will stand by army. We will not let them down. We are in a situation where there is an elected government in Jammu and Kashmir. We must work together. Matter is sub-judice so I’ll not talk much on this account,” she said when queried about the Chief Minister’s assertion that the FIR was filed after getting her (Sitharaman’s) nod.

ON STONE PELTERS: Referring to the stone pelters, Sitharaman said, "First time offenders were given amnesty. I’m aware about that. As far as adverse inputs about the process are concerned, I can assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir and entire country that army, the government, both in the state and at the Centre are looking at it with all seriousness. What action we’re going to take, will not be appropriate for me to confer in the media."

ON HER MEETING WITH CHIEF MINISTER: Responding to a query about her meeting with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, she stated that the latter was absolutely emotionally charged after seeing the women and children in the Military Hospital. “She said – what can I say what kind of battle it is. So I shared my grief with her and we discussed few other things,” Sitharaman said.

ON SECURITY AUDIT OF MILITARY INSTALLATIONS IN J&K: When asked if security audit of military installations in J&K was completed and what was the audit status of Sunjwan Military Station as soldiers’ families had complained of ‘compromised security’, her one liner was, “I may not be able to give information on that as yet but I’ll find out and will let you know.”

ON RECURRENT CEASEFIRE VIOLATIONS: Regarding repeated ceasefire violations on the Line of Control, she said that she won’t say anything beyond that ‘Pakistan is expanding the arc of terror to the areas south of Pir Panjal ranges and resorting to ceasefire violations to assist infiltration. These are being responded appropriately.”

ON INFILTRATION: The Defence Minister said that infiltration across the Line of Control “ebbed to a great extent by the Anti-Infiltration Obstacle System (AIOS) and a dynamic multi layered counter infiltration grid.

“The activities of the terrorists in the hinterland are being severely curtailed due to the relentless efforts of the security forces. Although, the terrain configuration and snow conditions make it difficult to completely stop the infiltration, the Government is undertaking a host of measures in procuring modern electronic surveillance systems to implement the Philip Campose Committee Report which was instituted to review the security of all military installations for which a sum of Rs 1487 Cr has been allocated. With a view to enhance alertness along the borders, additional sensors, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and long range surveillance devices have already been deployed to cover the entire frontage of the Line of Control.”

Responding to a question pertaining to the civilian inhabitations adjoining peripheries of cantonment, Military Stations, posing a security threat, she said this problem was being confronted not just in J&K but across the country. “To remove them is difficult because the constructions are taking place with permission. I’m studying it and we’ll take an action in this connection for sure,” she said.

Earlier giving a detailed account of “counter terrorist operations” at Sunjwan, she said that the “terrorists had chosen to attack a Military Station which housed both troops and families of the Indian army. The cantonment is located on the outskirts of Jammu, approximately 30 kms from the International Boundary, in a semi urbanized environment with densely populated civilian localities, adjacent to the cantonment’s perimeter fence.”

“An alert had been sounded on the likelihood of terrorist attack around this period. Accordingly, Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) were positioned in vulnerable areas. It was assessed that Pakistan sponsored terrorists may target softer elements, hence a QRT was also positioned at the Sunjwan family accommodation. The intrusion of the terrorists inside the cantonment was promptly detected by the sentry and challenged by the nearest available QRT, leading to a brief exchange of fire. This immediate action compelled the terrorists to split into single individuals thereby preventing a coordinated strike,” she stated.

“The scattered terrorists then rushed towards their pre-designated target of the family quarters and occupied some of the accommodation blocks. They were then isolated. Since the terrorists were dressed in battle fatigues and had similar appearance to their possible target victims, the operation had to be done deliberately to eliminate the possibility of any mistaken identity or collateral damage. The operations entailed a deliberate search of 26 Blocks and safe evacuation of families from 189 flats which was time "consuming and a challenging task.” This was successfully achieved with no fatal casualties to our troops conducting the Counter Terrorist operations,” the Defence Minister said.

“Six fatal casualties, including a civilian, were caused by the terrorists due to their firing on unarmed service personnel and their dependents during the initial seizing of the residential quarters in an attempt to gain forceful entry into the family quarters,” she said.

Complimenting the valour of soldiers who carried out the operation with precision and professionalism, she said, “We will continue to thwart any attempt by Pakistan sponsored terrorists to cause violence in our country and necessary action to deal with them through our Counter Terrorist Strategy has been put into action.”

Prior to her presser, she also called on the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. At Military Hospital, she met injured in the attack and took stock of their condition. Later she had a round of Sunjwan Military Station where she also interacted with the families of soldiers.


News Updated at : Tuesday, February 13, 2018
 
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