February 2017 News

Three Soldiers Killed In Ambush Of Army Column By Hizbul Militants In Shopian

23 February 2017
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: Militants sent a chilling reminder to Mehbooba Mufti-led government when they killed three soldiers and injured five others including a lieutenant colonel and a major in a midnight ambush at Mulu Chitragam village in Shopian district of South Kashmir. An elderly woman was also killed in the crossfire. Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. A spokesperson of the outfit called up the local news agencies and staked claim for the attack. Police said the incident occurred when a joint party of 44 Rashtriya Riffles and police were returning to a base after conducting cordon and search operation at Kungnoo Shopian. Police said the cordon and search operation (CASO) concluded without any arrest or recovery. 'While returning from Kungnoo, the CASO party was attacked by the unknown militants at Mulu Chitragam at about 2 am resulting in injuries to six army personnel including two officers. Three of them later succumbed to their injuries,' a police spokesman said. The three martyred soldiers have been identified as Lance Naik Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Rather, Sapper Sreejith MJ and Sepoy Vikas Singh Gurjar. Hailing from Punchpora village of Anantnag district in south Kashmir, Lance Naik is survived by wife Shahzada Akhter and son Aahil Mohi-ud-din. Sapper Sreejith, who hails from Paruthipully village in Kerala, is survived by his mother Usha Kumari. Sepoy Gurjar from Andhyakhara village in Rajasthan is survived by wife Ram Raji. Among the injured is a Major and a Lieutenant Colonel. Police said one woman Taja Begum also died after she was hit by a stray bullet inside her house during the cross fire. 'Begum was hit by a bullet inside her house during the cross fire. She later succumbed to her injuries,' said the spokesman. Casualties notwithstanding, Indian army has vowed to launch relentless operations against the anti-nationals in the Kashmir valley. 'Such incidents have only strengthened our resolve to continue relentless operations against the Pakistan-sponsored anti-nationals here,' said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Northern Command. However, the eulogising of militants by the hard-line pro-Pakistan women separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) resulted in a flutter among the security establishment. 'The damage inflicted by Mujahideen has frustrated government of India and their stooges in Kashmir. It has created confusion among the Indian army,' said Syedah Aasiyeh Andrabi, chairperson of DeM. The attack has come on the day when Hizbul leader Zakir Musa released a new video showing ultras lighting a bonfire at a unknown location with Jihadi anthems playing in the backdrop. This is fourth time that army has suffered huge casualties in Kashmir this month. On February 12, two army men were killed and three others were injured in an encounter with militants at Frisal village of South Kashmir's Kulgam distrct. Two civilians were also killed. On February 14, four soldiers including a major were killed and 11 others, including a Major, and Commandant of 45th battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), sustained injuries in two separate encounters in North Kashmir. Meanwhile Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the unending cycle of violence has brought untold miseries to the people while paying tributes to slain soldiers. 'Collective efforts are needed to get the state out of the morass of death and destruction,' she said.

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