Hiding ultras trained in jungle warfare17 July 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Beri Rakh forests in Mendhar sector of Poonch district, where a massive search operation against Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Pakistan militants continued for sixth day today, have, in fact, become a shelter place for the militants in view of various dense forest cover after their infiltration from Pakistan till they are able to reach safe hide-outs in the areas assigned to them with the help of guides. A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and a jawan were today injured in the operation taking number of Army and police personnel wounded in the gun-battle inside dense Beri Rakh forests so far to 14 including a Colonel and a Major. Another Major had sacrificed his life on Day one of the encounter. Army and police today extended their area of operation against the militants to Bhati Dhar and Thera Topa forests following an input that at least two militants had escaped from Beri Rakh forests after yesterday’s firing in which a Major and two soldiers were injured. They might have taken shelter in surrounding Bhati Dhar or Thera Topa jungles. Official sources told the Excelsior that Beri Rakh forests in Mendhar tehsil have become a 'shelter place’’ for the militants after they managed to intrude into this side of the Line of Control (LoC) from Pakistan. The dense forests keep the militants ‘safe’ inside. Inputs now revealed that some Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of the militants, residing in villages surrounding the jungle area, were providing food items to the hiding ultras. The present group of five to six militants is reported to have intruded into this side from the LoC in Mendhar sector in first week of this month and took shelter in Beri Rakh reportedly on July 9. Their movement was first observed by some civilians on July 12 morning and immediately thereafter the Army and police personnel swung into action and launched a massive search operation for the militants. The militants appeared to be trained in jungle warfare which was evident from the fact that they were fighting the troops for six days and had even inflicted one fatal and 14 non-fatal casualties on Army and police personnel while only two ultras have been killed so far. From inside the forests, Army and police have recovered a number of medicines of Pakistan based companies along with a list written in Urdu on when to use which medicine and a map, which confirmed that they were Pakistanis and part of a fresh infiltrated group from across the LoC. Besides two weapons, grenades, a satellite telephone and other items have been recovered from two slain militants. During fresh round of firing with the militants today, a JCO of 38 Rashtriya Rifles Vijay Kumar sustained a gun shot while another jawan was injured after felling down. Both of them have been hospitalized. Troops of RR, joined by police and SOG, today extended their searches to Bhati Dhar and Thera Topa following reports that two militants might have slipped to these two forest areas after injuring a Major and two jawans in Beri Rakh forests yesterday. On second day of operation on July 13, Major Amit Thingey was killed in exchange of firing with the militants while CO 37 RR Ajay Katoch and five jawans were injured. On July 15, Army and police gunned down two militants inside the forests while three police personnel sustained splinter injuries of a grenade. On July 16, another Major and two jawans were wounded while today a JCO and a jawan were injured. Sources admitted that it was very difficult to conduct searches in such a vast and dense forest area like Beri Rakh and then achieve success especially when the ultras had already taken positions inside and were at advantage. Killing of even two hardcore Pakistani militants of LeT in the operation was a big success of Army and police, they said. They pointed out that a similar search operation in Bhati Dhar forests few years back had lasted nine days without any major success.