May 2003 News

50 Terrorists Killed In J&K In Few Months

17 May 2003
The Pioneer

New Delhi: At least 50 terrorists have been killed and their hideouts smashed in counter-insurgency measures in the upper reaches of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir during the last few months. While these real-time intelligence operations were on in sensitive pockets all along the Line of Control (LOC) aided by heli-borne strikes, the security force were bracing themselves for a ferocious retaliation from Pakistan-backed militant groups. Keeping this in view, the officials managing Kashmir affairs had also urged the Jammu and Kashmir Government to reconsider its decision to disband the Special Operations Group (SOG). Comprising men of the Jammu and Kashmir police, the SOG was given the task of carrying out specific strikes against terrorists. Given the freedom of action and functioning in small, well-knit units, the SOG had notched up important successes in the last couple of years. In fact, Central forces, deployed in the counter-insurgency grid, also lauded the role played by the SOG especially in remote areas of the State. However, after reports of some alleged illegal actions by the SOG men, the State Government had disbanded the unit after the Assembly poll. Security managers advised the Government to rethink its decision as the SOG backed by a huge network of informers, was acting as a major deterrent for terrorists. Meanwhile, troops supported by helicopters smashed nearly 60 militant hideouts and killed about 50 militants in the ongoing counter-terrorist action in Surankote region of Rajouri district close to the LOC. It was learnt that the security forces also recovered a huge cache of weapons, including heavy machine guns and other war like stores. The pin-point operations to flush out terrorists was now on in the sparsely populated and thickly wooded areas of the Hill Kaka area of Surankote, officials said here on Saturday. They said this region of Surankote was a major transit point for militants infiltrating into India from Pakistan. Owing allegiance to Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, these terrorist used to rest in hideouts on hill tops before dispersing into various parts of the State for terrorist strikes. Believed to be one of the biggest operations against militants in recent years, it started on April 21-22 when more than a dozen ultras were killed in a gunfight there. It was pointed out that the heavily armed militants were putting up stiff resistance from their well-fortified and amply stocked bases.


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