February 2018 News

Clear Evidence Of Local Support Emerges As Death Toll Rises To 10

13 February 2018
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Army recovered body of another soldier during sanitization operation from Sunjuwan Military Station this morning, taking death toll in the gunbattle to 10 including six troopers, a civilian and three fidayeens while another suspected fidayeen attack on an Army camp in Domana was averted this morning due to alertness displayed by the Sentry. Meanwhile, after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's statement yesterday indicating local support to the militants, police sources said that since no Global Positioning System (GPS) or mobile telephones were recovered from the slain fidayeens, it was sure that they had been provided local support in shelter and travel. Police was conducting searches at various places to track down fourth militant, who had guided fidayeens up to Sunjuwan Military Station and escaped before the attack. Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Zone, Dr SD Singh Jamwal told Excelsior that all angles of 'local support' are being investigated. 'Definitely, there was some kind of local support to the militants, which was evident from the fact that the militants were not carrying any GPS or mobile with them,' he said, adding efforts were on to track down the militant sympathizers, who might have helped the terrorists carry out the fidayeen attack. Generally, the militants carry GPS or phone with them to reach the target assigned to them. In Sunjuwan attack, no such devices have been recovered from the militants, which indicated that militants might have been given shelter and then guided up to the Military Station to launch the attack by their local sympathisers. 'The militants had shaved their faces before carrying out the attack,' sources said, adding this indicated that the militants had stayed in a house before setting out on the mission. The militants were high on drugs and had most probably been injected Amphetamine, also known as 'Jihadi drugs', which most of the fidayeens use before brutal killings. According to sources, the militants had planned to prolong the gunbattle as they were carrying with them energy drinks, eye drops, candies, dry fruits and syringes. The eye drops are used to avert sleep in the prolonged fights. The militants, sources said, were wearing CRPF uniforms, which showed they initially might have planned an attack on the CRPF camp but changed the decision sometime back or they might have been unable to get Army dresses. Though identity of the militants was yet to be ascertained, they were believed to be Pakistanis. However, security agencies were trying to find out whether they had come from Kashmir or from the border. The strong possibility was that the militants might have come from the Valley though all possibilities are being looked into. Meanwhile, during sanitization operation, Army today recovered body of another soldier, who had been killed in the fidayeen attack inside Sunjuwan Military Station. He was identified as Havaldar Rakesh Chandra of 6 Mahar, a resident of village Sankar in Pauri Garhwal area of Uttarakhand. He had probably been killed during initial phase of attack by the militants on Saturday morning. With this death toll in the gunbattle has risen to 10 including six Army personnel, a civilian, who happened to be father of an Army jawan and all three fidayeens, who had attacked the camp. Of six martyr jawans, four belonged to Kashmir and one each to Jammu and Uttarakhand. Sources said the Army Sentry observed movement of two suspected militants on a motor bike outside a camp at Domana at 4.30 am today and fired some shots. The suspects fled away. Immediately after the incident, Army and police alerted all forward security installations on Jammu-Akhnoor road and launched searches in the villages especially the route leading to the International Border. However, till late tonight, the militants remained untraced as no further contact was established with them after morning's firing. 'A suspected fidayeen attack on an Army camp has been,' sources said. Police, however, didn't rule out speculative firing by the Army Sentry. When contacted, SSP Jammu, Vivek Gupta said they are taking it as an incident. 'We have sounded an alert and are conducting searches in all the areas,' Gupta said. Sources said the militants, if any, haven't been spotted during the searches. Meanwhile, bodies of all three fidayeen were still kept in the Military Hospital, Satwari after post-mortem and completion of all legal formalities. The External Affairs Ministry has approached Pakistan for taking over bodies of their nationals as the Government has evidence on nationality of the fidayeens. Army today organized wreath laying ceremony of Sunjuwan martyrs at Technical Airport, which among others was attended by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 9 Corps Lt Gen YVK Mohan. The Chief Minister turned emotional as she inter-acted with family members including children of the martyrs. The bodies of martyrs were later flown to their native towns in the Kashmir valley. Mehbooba laid wreaths on the bodies of martyrs and paid tributes to them. The Army martyrs from Kashmir included Subedar Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Havaldar Habibullah Qureshi, Lance Naik Mohammad Iqbal and Naik Manjoor Ahmed Deva.