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3 JeM militants killed in Kakrayal encounter
Major, DySP, among 12 security personnel, injured
Devender Sharma
REASI/JAMMU, Sep 13: Three Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants, a day after they had escaped after firing on security personnel on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway near Jhajjar Kotli, were eliminated Thursday evening in a day-long encounter at Kakrayal near Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Reasi district.

Twelve security personnel, including an army Major, a DySP, were, however, injured in the joint operation by army commandos, CRPF and Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Encounter began this morning when during Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) launched to track down the trio in the Jhajjar-Kotli forest belt in Jammu and Reasi district since Wednesday afternoon, security personnel this morning established contact with the fleeing ultras near a house at Kakrayal. The encounter sight was barely five kilometers away from the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University and Super Specialty hospital.

While two ultras were gunned down early in the afternoon, the exchange of firing continued till 5 PM when third militant, who had fled to forests with bullet injury in the leg, was also killed by forces led by army commandos.

In the operation, three army commandos, including a Major, four CRPF personnel and five JKP personnel including a DySP sustained injuries. The injured security personnel were identified as Major Deepak Upadhyay, paratrooper Rajinder Singh, paratrooper Sudhir Kumar, CRPF personnel Zakir Hussain, Manoj Kumar Yadav, Abhay Singh, Harshpal Singh and from J&K Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohan Lal Sharma (SDPO Nagrota), Pancham Singh, Mohammed Iqbal, Yashpal Singh and Bhanu Pratap.

They were admitted to the Narayana Super Specialty hospital hospital in Katra and were all stable.

The identity of slain ultras was yet to be established. However the police claimed that the trio “seemed to have infiltrated yesterday morning from Pakistan most likely from Samba/Hiranagar belt of International Border.” After operation, IGP Jammu SDS Jamwal, while briefing media, stated that their infiltration route was tracked by the security agencies.

According to police, three militants after fleeing into Jhajjar-Kotli forest belt yesterday following opening fire on the security personnel and injuring a civilian, also took refuge in the house of a civilian for few hours. Around 9.30 PM, they left the house and in the morning they were tracked near a house in Kakrayal by the forces, who had laid cordon all along the Jhajjar Kotli forest belt and the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Security forces used drones and choppers in the cordon and search operation.

After encounter, talking to media, Commander Rashtriya Rifles’ Uniform Force Major General Arvind Bhatia stated that the militants had infiltrated into the state recently through the Samba-Bobiya (Hiranagar) border in Jammu region and were trying to go to either Srinagar or the Jammu bus station but seemed to have lost their way.

When asked as what could be the possible target of militants, he said, “Here in Jammu, they didn’t have any support system, overground workers’ network which could sustain them for longer so probably they were on their way to the Valley for some big target. Security installations, probably, were not their target. Had it been so, they could have already tragetted them as along their route, they would have crossed many security installations.”

He said they had taken clothes from the villagers to camouflage but were trapped in the area as they could not cross the overflowing Jhajjar rivulet. Army commander said that the militants seemed to be non-Kashmiris and possibly of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Interestingly, police maintained that they belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit.

Major General Bhatia said that the truck driver and helper who were held after the attack on Wednesday morning were over-ground workers for the militant outfits. He stated inputs suggested that the duo even in the past also helped militants to reach Valley. “Yesterday, they came to notice by the CRPF contingent after the duo asked for packed breakfast for three persons from a Dhaba near Jhajjarkotli where they had halted for breakfast. Suspicious of this act, when the CRPF personnel

He informed that senior commanders of Nagrota-based 16 Corps personally supervised the operations. The operation was called off following the killing of three militants, he informed.

Traffic movement on the highway, between Nagrota and Jhajjar Kotli, was suspended and schools in the area were closed for the day during operation. The district administration Udhampur also ordered the closure of schools and other educational institutions within the Tikri zone on Thursday as a precautionary measure.

IGP Jammu SDS Jamwal, while talking to media after operation was over, said that the biggest challenge in the operation to evade civilian casualty in the wake of terrain.

“We took all the precautions to vacate the house where these three terrorists had taken refuge. Locals cooperated with the forces wholeheartedly. It was a great challenge because of maize crops and wild bushy growth as an outcome of ongoing rainy season. But I salute the forces, which accomplished the task with great precision and without incurring any loss of lives. Though twelve security personnel did sustain injuries yet they all are stable, out of danger,” he said.

With regard to infiltration route and arrests made in this connection, IGP said, “Infiltration route has been identified. Investigation is on and soon arrests will be made of other conduits, who helped the militants in whatever way. After the operation, the forces recovered three weapons including a pistol. We’ve sanitized the areas as there could be explosives or grenades. We don’t want any civilian casualty in anyway. Sanitization process, by the bomb disposal squad of police and army, is still on.”

In the meanwhile a senior police officer said that around 8:15 PM on Wednesday, the three militants, fleeing after the attack on the check post near Jhajjar Kotli area, held the family of Sudershan Khajuria at a village in Jhajjar Kotli hostage till 9:30 PM and then took some biscuits and apples from the family before leaving their house. The family immediately informed the police.

On Thursday morning, the trio had held the family of Raju hostage at Dhirthi, said police sources, adding that the family was rescued and some villagers evacuated to safety before engaging with the hiding militants.

This morning speaking to media, Sudershan Khajuria said, “They came to our house at 8 PM. My father Isher Dass and my mother were at home at the time. On seeing them, my mother fell unconscious. The militants told them not to get scared and assured them that they would not harm anyone.”

Ishar Dass, talking to media, said, “However they threatened us not to tell anyone about them. They said they had not eaten for past five days. They took biscuits and apples from us. They were wearing torn clothes and were carrying arms. They demanded clothes to replace their combat dress. After eating biscuits, they drank water and left around 9.10 PM. They also demanded a vehicle, but we told them, we do not have one. They asked us to switch-off our mobile phones.”

Police said the militants of Pakistani origin had crossed the International Border in Tarnah nallah and reached Kashmir from the Dayalachak area of Kathua district in a truck. The militants had reached Jhajjar Kotli in a Srinagar-bound truck, but fled after firing along the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The truck driver identified as Riyaz Ahmed son of Ghulam Ahmad resident of Hajin, Pulwama and cleaner Mohammed Iqbal, son of Abdul Khaliq resident of Pakharpora, Budgam, a BSc Nursing student, who was also on the truck, were arrested on Wednesday and their truck seized.

Later in the evening, a police spokesman said, “On September 12, 2018 at about 0805 hours during checking by flying squad at Domail, police party signalled a truck bearing No JK03-1476 which was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar to stop. In the meantime three terrorists who were boarding the said truck opened fire. One person received bullet injury and the terrorists managed to escape in the forest area of Jhajjar Kotli. Truck was seized and driver and helper were arrested. One AK-56, loaded magazines, one Chinese pistol and other incriminating material was recovered from the site.”

“To track the terrorists, massive Cordon and Search Operations were launched by police, CRPF and army in the villages near Katra. The security components of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine were also alerted. A lookout notice was issued through social and mass media. Three Superintendents of Police of Reasi, Udhampur, Jammu, Additional SP Katra and SDPO Nagrota rushed to the spot after receiving information. DIG Jammu Bhim Sen Tuti commanded the operations along with army and CRPF, IGP Jammu Dr S D Singh Jamwal who was at Delhi for a meeting rushed back and joined the operations. The vast area was kept under tight cordon during the night and with day break contact was established after terrorists were tracked at Kakrayal. The exchange of fire continued till 5 PM this evening. In this encounter all the three terrorists were neutralized. SDPO Nagrota, two officers of CRPF and some police and security force men were injured,” said police spokesperson.

“It seems a case of fresh infiltration of yesterday morning from Pakistan most likely from Hiranagar belt of International Border. These terrorists had come from Pakistan to disturb peace and cause violence against the people of state. Preliminary investigation points that the terrorists belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad. Bodies of all the three terrorists have been recovered. Arms and ammunition have also been recovered from the terrorists,” added the spokesperson.

Following operation, DGP J&K Dilbag Singh complimented the role of the police, CRPF, army and general public of the area who cooperated with the operational parties since yesterday which, he said, “led to successful culmination of the operations and averted a big threat from the terrorists to peace and security in the state.” He also wished speedy recovery to the officers and jawans of police and security forces injured in this operation.


News Updated at : Friday, September 14, 2018
 
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