J&K gunbattle ends, not fear

9 April 2009
The Hindustan Times
Rashid Ahmed

Srinagar: Two top commanders of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and two soldiers died in the three-day-long gunbattle in Maidanpora village in Lolab valley of Kupwara district that ended on Tuesday evening. Three jawans were also injured in the clash. A defence spokesperson said the bodies of two Lashkar commanders identified as Abu Musa and Abu Muawiya both Pakistani nationals were found at the site of the encounter. Musa was a divisional commander of the LeT. An army officer, who did not want to be identified, said that though the army had called off the operation, an alert has been sounded all along the Line of Control (LoC) and the mountainous region of Kupwara in north Kashmir. He noted that the reported infiltration by Taliban terrorists was a matter of concern, but said: We are fully prepared to neutralise them. The clash began on Sunday afternoon after troops launched a search operation in the area to flush out militants, leaving Naik Vipin Thakur and paratrooper Kamaljeet Singh of 9 Para Regiment killed and three other soldiers injured. Police sources, who preferred anonymity, said the militants had built underground hideouts and were well trained. They said the army had to use helicopters to rush in more troops for the operation. There has been a sudden spurt in clashes between militants and security forces over the past three weeks. Over 30 terrorists and 11 soldiers have been killed in these encounters.