23 Militants, 7 Soldiers Die Around Army Chief's Visit
6 October 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Running parallel to Gen Deepak Kapoor's maiden visit to Jammu & Kashmir as Chief of Army Staff, six more infiltrating militants and two soldiers have died today in a fierce gunbattle in Kupwara district where security forces had killed three militants of the same group while losing one soldier yesterday. With today's gunbattles between militants and security forces in Kupwara, Rafiabad (Baramulla) and Chitragam (Shopian), as many as 23 militants and 7 soldiers have got killed at seven places in Kashmir valley in the last five days. Informed sources told EXCELSIOR that troops of 16 Jat intercepted remaining six militants of a group of infiltrators in Drangyari forest cover in Kupwara district and eliminated all of them in a daylong gunbattle. Two soldiers also got killed. Sources said that this group of infiltrators had been initially spotted and intercepted by men of 16 Bihar at Eagle Post, close to LoC, in Karnah sector of Kupwara district in the wee hours on Friday. Even as three militants had been killed, six had managed to escape. They were finally wiped out by troops in Drangyari forest area today. While one soldier of 16 Bihar had died in the operation yesterday, two more of 16 Jat died in part two of the operation today. With this, 9 militants and 3 soldiers have got killed in the Kupwara operation on Friday and Saturday. This 9-member group of militants had been reportedly launched for infiltration into the Valley at Aithmuqam township across the LoC in Neelam valley of PoK. Sources said that troops of Rashtriya Rifles 32 Bn today killed an unidentified militant in an encounter at village Lissar in Rafiabad in Baramulla- Handwara belt. Sources said that the gunbattle which had commenced between militants and security forces in an orchard between Chitragam and Bandpau villages in Shopian-Kulgam belt yesterday with the death of Lashkar-e-Toiba's 'District Commander' Abu Furqan yesterday, has ended with the death of one soldier today. According to sources, troops of Rashtriya Rifles 62 Bn had launched the cordon-and-search operation after receiving information that a group of 10 militants was present at a hideout on Wednesday which had reduced to six on Thursday. In the initial round of firing, Abu Furqan got killed but five of his associates escaped and took shelter at different paces. When troops were almost calling off the operation yesterday, one of the militants opened fire on troops. It prompted troops to resume the operation. Militants, however, managed to escape while killing a soldier. With this, one militant and one soldier have died in the Shopian operation. While two militants and a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) had got killed in a gunbattle at Gamroo in Bandipore on October 4th, one militant had died in an encounter with troops of RR 55 Bn on October 3rd at Rakh-e-Littar in Pulwama district. On October 2nd and 3rd, as many as 9 Pakistani cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba and two Majors of RR 34 Bn had got killed in a 48-hour-long gunbattle at Ringawalli hamlet in Tangmarg. With inclusion of today's toll, as many as 23 militants and seven soldiers have got killed in Kashmir valley alone in the last five days. Of them, 18 were militants who had successfully infiltrated into the Valley in two groups of nine each in Gulmarg and Karnah sector. All these encounters and casualties have occurred around the new Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor's maiden visit to Jammu & Kashmir. This spree of infiltration and encounters at seven different places in the Valley alone have obviously led Gen Kapoor to rule out any reduction in the number of troops fighting 18-year-long insurgency in the State. Army Chief's statement at headquarters of RR 34 Bn at Beerwah in Budgam district today, which has come in days of the Defence Minister A K Antony ruling out demilitarisation, has humbled the political votaries of withdrawal of troops in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, last month, advocates of ceasefire with militants-who include leaders of PDP, National Conference and CPI (M)-had been greeted with a disappointment when the balloon of ceasefire deflated in the face of harsh statements from the Central leadership. Spurt in Violence Date Spot Fatal casualties October 2,3 Ringawalli, Tangmarg 9 militants, 2 Majors Oct 3 Rakh-e-Littar, Pulwama 1 militant Oct 4 Gamroo, Bandipore 2 militants, 1 JCO Oct 5 Eagle Post, Kupwara 3 militants, 1 soldier Oct 5 Chitragam, Shopian 1 militant, 1 soldier Oct 6 Drangyari, Kupwara 6 militants, 2 soldiers Oct 6 Lissar, Rafiabad 1 militant.