Lt Col Critically Injured In Kupwara Gun Battle

22 November 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: A Lt Colonel was among two Army men injured in a gun battle that raged this afternoon at Manigah forest area of North Kashmir's Kupwara district. One militant is believed to be dead. However, his body has not been recovered so far. Army's 41 RR, 4 Para, 9 Para Commandos alongwith the Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police who had launched massive search operation in the forest areas in Manigah following killing of Colonel Santosh on November 17, this afternoon intercepted the militant group in the afternoon at Haji Naka forest area near Manigah village, triggering a gun battle. Army officer Lt Colonel SK Natt and an Army man were injured after a militant who had taken position in a mud hut inside the forest. The Army officer who was critically injured has been removed to 92-Base hospital at Srinagar's Badami Bagh Cantonment. He was being operated upon when last reports came in. More troops have been rushed to the area and one militant is believed to be dead. However, his body has not been recovered. The militant group is believed to have infiltrated last month and was trapped in snow. On November 10, the Army's 41 RR had recovered body of a militant in Kumkadi forests of Manigah who was believed to have died due to severe cold. On November 17, militants killed an Army officer, Colonel Santosh of 41-RR in forest area of Behak near Sonwali in Manigah area. The group managed to escape three times since November 13 in different locations in the forest area. In the meantime, Army and police have launched a massive operation against a group of at least five militants in Bhawan forest area of Handwara in North Kashmir's Kupwara district. The group gave slip to the troops after a fierce gun fight last night. Army's 21 RR, 9 Para and SOG launched cordon-and-search operation at Bhawan forests in Zachaldara on last evening following information about presence of a group of 5-6 militants in the area. The troops and militants exchanged heavy fire for at least two hours between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. But the group of militants managed to escape from the encounter site taking cover of darkness and dense forests. This morning 32 RR, 30 RR, 6 RR and more SOG components joined the operation and entire forest area was cordoned off and massive searches have been launched. The troops have sealed off all the escape routes of these militants but the dense fog and thick forests are hampering the operation. Army's 30 RR and SOG Kralgund today cordoned off Mawar area of Handwara in the frontier district of Kupwara and conducted searches. They had received information about suspicious movement in the area.