8 militants, soldier killed near LoC in Kashmir
24 June 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Srinagar: Intercepting two fresh groups of infiltrators, Police and security forces have killed eight militants in two separate operations close to LoC in north Kashmir districts of Kupwara and Baramulla since last evening. One soldier, who was recipient of Vir Chakra in the Kargil War of 1999, was also killed and two others injured. Militants have, meanwhile, left 10 personnel of Special Operations Group (SOG) wounded in a major IED blast at Maloora on Srinagar- Sumbal Road. Informed sources in north Kashmir told EXCELSIOR that late last night SSP Kupwara Vijay Kumar received a specific information from his sources that a group of 8 Lashkar-e-Toiba militants was likely to cross LoC through Ismail Di Dori in Gail Galli, close to LoC, in Karnah sector. According to the tip off, the infiltrating group had set off from Jora, launching pad in Athmuqam area of PoK, across river Neelam. Subsequently, SOG Kupwara, alongwith troops of 8 JAK LI, laid an ambush in Gail Galli, between Karnah and Keran sector. In the wee hours today, men in ambush spotted the 8-member group which had successfully crossed the LoC as well as the barbed wire fencing. No sooner did the troops spot the heavily armed militants than they challenged them and ordered them to halt. It triggered off a fierce gunbattle which continued for the whole day. Even as the militants left one of the soldiers dead and two more injured, troops gunned down five militants. Officials admitted that three militants managed to escape but said that troops and SOG units had extended the cordon-and-search operation to a vast area. They said that the search operation was in progress when reports last came in from Karnah tonight. Officials said that Police had received dead bodies of five militants, alongwith equal number of AK-56 rifles, 20 magazines, a number of grenades and two radio sets. They maintained that all the five militants were unidentified but believed to be Pakistani cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba. Havildar Chuni Lal, a resident of Doda district, who died in the Karnah gunbattle, had received Vir Chakra in recognition of his gallantry in the Kargil War of 1999. Both the injured soldiers, namely rifleman Ranjit Singh and Tarseem Lal, who were airlifted and admitted to 92-Base Hospital of Army in Srinagar, were reportedly out of danger. Sources said that expecting infiltration of another group of militants over an information available with Police, troops of 6-Bihar laid an ambush at Gowhallan, on the LoC, in Uri sector of Baramulla district late last night. A fierce gunbattle started when troops spotted the infiltrating militants and challenged them to halt. Three militants got killed in the encounter that continued for several hours. They were later identified as Mohammad Arif Ganai S-o Mohammad Sidique Ganai R-o Ongam (Bandipore), Altaf Ahmed Sheikh S-o Ghulam Hassan Sheikh R-o Gamroo (Bandipore) and Fayaz Ahmed Khan S-o Ghulam Mohammad Khan R-o Lawaypora (Bandipore). Three AK-56 rifles as also a quantity of grenades and assorted ammunition was recovered from their possession. According to Police records, Arif was missing from his home since 2003, Altaf since 2002 and Fayaz since 2000. Their organisational affiliation had not been ascertained by this evening. Three AK-47 rifles, 9 magazines, 18 hand grenades of Pakistani and Chinese origin and huge quantity of war-like stores were claimed to have been recovered from the three militants killed. With today's operations, a total of 18 infiltrators have been killed by security forces on the LoC in Kashmir valley in five gunbattles since March this year. Nearly 200 militants, mostly from Lashkar-e- Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Harkatul Mujahideen, Al-Badar and Lashkar-e- Toiba, are believed to have successfully infiltrated into Jammu & Kashmir since January this year. With a remarkable increase in infiltration, authorities are apprehensive of a hot summer in the Valley. Meanwhile, authoritative sources said that militants ambushed a party of SOG Srinagar at Maloora on Srinagar-Sumbal Road when it was returning from a failed raid in Sumbal area at 0515 hours today. Sources said that an IED, which had been planted under a heap of clay near a petrol pump, was detonated with a remote control device when the SOG party was passing toward Srinagar in an armoured bunker and a Gypsy. It hit the intended target, causing extensive damage to both vehicles. Officials said all 10 personnel of SOG Srinagar sustained injuries and were rushed to hospital for medical treatment, some of the injured personnel were reportedly critical. Lashkar-e-Toiba spokesman, Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi, claimed that 3 soldiers died and 10 others sustained injuries in the IED blast that was caused by militants of his organisation. He said that all the militants, participating in the operation, reached safely back to their hideout. Reports from Kulgam in south Kashmir said that SPO Mohammad Anwar Dar, resident of Khanabaran Devsar, who was posted at a minority protection guard at Chowgam, was found dead in mysterious circumstances. Absent from duty, Dar had gone to his home where he is suspected to have been hit on his head by unidentified assailants late last evening. Police have registered a case and started investigation. Kulgam locality remained tense today after a CRPF vehicle hit a youth, Ashiq Hussain Wagay S-o Ghulam Hassan Wagay R-o Drangbal, DH Pora, who was driving a motorcycle in his village. Two persons, namely Sajjad Ahmed Wagay and Irshad Ahmed Zargar, were injured in the mishap. They were both evacuated and admitted to District Hospital Anantnag. Sources said that hundreds of villagers came out in protest and demanded arrest of the negligent driver. Police later swung into action and arrested the CRPF driver. A case of causing death by rash and negligent driving was registered against him.