Major among 4 Army men, J&K cop martyred in gunfight; 3 top JeM ultras killed
Three top Jaish-e- Mohammad (JeM) terrorists, including a suspected mastermind of Pulwama suicide bomb attack on a CRPF convoy, were killed, and four Army personnel, including a Major, and a J&K Head Constable attained martyrdom in a fierce gunfight, which lasted about 18 hours, in Pinglena area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday.
One of the top Jaish-e- Mohammad Commander Abdul Rashid Ghazi, alias Kamran, an Afghan war veteran, who infiltrated into Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in 2018, is believed to have been neutralised in the operation, police sources said.
Ghazi is believed to be one of the masterminds of the February 14 suicide attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama and had trained the suicide bomber.
Ghazi, a key aide of Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Pakistan-based chief Masood Azhar, was responsible for recruiting, radicalising and training terrorists in the Kashmir Valley.
The second terrorist killed in the encounter has been identified as Hilal Ahmed, a local Kashmiri bomb specialist.
At least nine security personnel, including a Brigade Commander, a Lieutenant Colonel, and a Deputy Inspector General of the Jammu & Kashmir Police, were injured in the gunbattle which erupted shortly after midnight, about 12 km from where a suicide bomber belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed drove his explosives laden vehicle into the CRPF bus last week, killing 44 jawans.
One civilian, believed to be the house owner, where these terrorists had taken shelter, was also killed in the day-long operations.
Sporadic incidents of stone pelting were also reported from the area at intervals.
The martyred Army men have been identified as Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, Hawaldar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Hari Singh and Sepoy Ajay Kumar. Major Dhoundiyal, who hailed from Dehradun, was married in April 2018.
Havaldar Sheo Ram (36) had joined the Army in 2000 and hailed from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. He is survived by his wife and a son.
Sepoy Singh (26) belonged to Rewari in Haryana. He joined the Army in 2011 and is survived by his wife and son.
Sepoy Kumar hailed from village Bastikri in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. The 27-year-old Kumar had joined the Army in 2012 and is survived by his wife and a son.
Their mortal remains were flown for the last rites to their native places, where they would be laid to rest with full military honours.
According to spokesman of the Jammu and Kashmir police, “Based on credible inputs about the presence of terrorists in Pinglena area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by police and security forces in the intervening night in the area”.
Police spokesman said, “As the searches were going on, terrorists from inside the target house fired indiscriminately on the search party. In the initial burst of fire, four army jawans and one civilian sustained critical gunshot injuries. They were evacuated to hospital for medical attention. Consequently, four injured jawans attained martyrdom and the civilian also succumbed to his injuries”.
The Police spokesman said the fire was retaliated by the security forces leading to an encounter. In the ensuing encounter three terrorists were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter, he said.
Personnel of the 55 Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and the Special Operation Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF jawans jointly conducted the operations.
While, the weekly Poonch-Rawalakot cross-LoC bus service was suspended in view of the prevailing law and order situation in Jammu, following the recent terror attack on a CRPF convoy in south Kashmir.
Curfew was imposed in Jammu city on Friday following massive anti-Pakistan protests and sporadic incidents of violence over the terror attack in Pulwama district, which left 40 CRPF personnel dead on Thursday.
“The cross-LoC (Line of Control) bus service was suspended in view of the prevailing law and order situation,” Poonch District Development Commissioner Rahul Yadav said.
Tuesday, 19 February 2019 | Mohit Kandhari | Jammu
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