Black Friday: 4 Terror Attacks In Valley, 21 Dead

5 December 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Uri: A few days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Kashmir visit on Monday, a group of Fidayeen militants struck an Army camp near the border town of Uri close to Line of Control killing eight soldiers, including a Lieutenant Colonel, and three J&K policemen. Six 'fidayeen' (suicide), who are believed to have infiltrated recently, were also gunned down in a seven-hour firefight. The day also witnessed two different violent incidents that also left two militants and two civilians dead. The deadliest attack of this year in Kashmir was carried out by the militants on the artillery base of Rampur Brigade in Uri which houses Bofors guns which were used in the sector in early 1990s to counter the cross-border shelling in Mohura on the Srinagar-Muzzaffarabad highway, 100 km from Srinagar. The area, which has largely remained peaceful since the eruption of militancy in the valley, was rattled with gunshots since the wee hours. The border town of Uri houses two Brigade headquarters of Army. The attack took place at a time when the Assembly elections are under progress in Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister is expected to be in Srinagar on Monday. The attack, the second of its kind on an Army installation in Jammu and Kashmir in a fortnight, is likely to create more tension between the two estranged neighbours. The encounter took place close to country's second oldest power project in Uri, Mohura power house. Source said a group of six militants, who had infiltrated from the Uri sector taking advantage of the foggy weather, divided themselves into two groups. One group stormed the artillery camp and another entered the adjacent field regiment unit around 3 am, which works under the Baramulla-based 19 Infantry Division. The sources said the militants entered the Army unit while crossing the neighbouring Beacon camp. After storming the camp, they took shelter in bunkers and engaged troops in a fierce gunfight that lasted for seven hours. In the initial gunfight four troopers were killed. The militants then entered the camp after cutting the fencing barbed wire, sources said. The Army officials said they were ascertaining as to how the militants managed to enter the camp. The camp is housed on bank of the Jhelum on one side and is adjacent to the Srinagar- Muzzaffarabad road. The Army called its elite paratroops to neutralize the militants. The Fidayeen also attacked a police party led by Sub Divisional Police Officer, Uri, when he was on way to the encounter site. An Army spokesman in Srinagar said that a group of heavily armed and well-equipped militants opened heavy fire with automatic weapons at an Army Camp in Mohura. 'Army troops from within the camp retaliated and engaged the terrorists in the gunfight. The troops from the neighbouring camps, who were already in a state of high alert, immediately mobilized their Quick Reaction Teams, rushing to the site and surrounding the area. In the ensuing fire fight, all six terrorists were eliminated,' the spokesman said. 'During the initial part of the operation, one terrorist opened fire on the vehicles of the QRT of the neighbouring unit rushing to the site in which one gypsy went off the road and overturned, leading to casualties among the security forces. The terrorist was soon eliminated by the troops of the QRT and his body recovered. During the operation, a barrack also caught fire, presumably because kerosene heater was toppled,' he said. During the intense operations, Lt Col Sanklap Pandey of 24 Punjab and seven soldiers of the Army, one Assistant Sub Inspector and two constables of the J&K Police men were killed. The spokesman said six AK rifles with 55 magazines, two shotguns, two night vision binoculars, four radio sets, 32 unused grenades, one medical kit and a large quantity of miscellaneous warlike stores were recovered from the dead terrorists. 'The Army is continuing the operation in the surrounding areas to find out any terrorists who may still be hiding or attempting to escape,' the spokesman said. The day also witnessed two more violent incidents in Kashmir . Two militants were killed on the outskirts of Srinagar at Ahmadnagar at around 3 pm in an encounter. 'The militants tried to escape and were killed in an encounter,' Inspector General of Police, Kashmir range, Abdul Gani Mir said. One of the militant has been identified as Qari Asrar. The sources said the two militants were planning to carry out a deadly attack in Srinagar ahead of PM's visit. In another violent incident in south Kashmir's Tral area, two civilians were killed and 11 others were injured when suspected militants hurled a grenade this afternoon. The dead civilians have been identified as Ghulam Hassan Gojjar and Mohammad Shafi. Sources said a road show was being organised by an independent candidate before the incident took place.