Tuesday, 12 October 2021 | Mohit Kandhari | Jammu
The Indian Army on Monday suffered a major setback after a heavily-armed group of terrorists “ambushed” a patrol party leading to the death of five soldiers, including a Junior Commissioner Officer (JCO), in a thickly forested area of Dera Ki Gali in Surankote tehsil of frontier Poonch.
Among the martyred soldiers three hailed from Punjab and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.
The Army said during a cordon and search operation the soldiers received fatal injuries in the terror ambush and later succumbed.
It was after a gap of more than 17 months the Indian Army suffered such huge losses in one single operation in Jammu & Kashmir.
Earlier on April 5, 2020 Indian Army lost five soldiers, including three elite para-commandos in hand-to-hand combat with infiltrating terrorists in the Keran sector of Kupwara.
Later on May 3, 2020, a Commanding Officer (CO) of the Indian Army’s elite counter-insurgency force was killed in action along with four other security personnel, including a Major and Sub Inspector of the Jammu & Kashmir Police, in Handwara town of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district while they were attempting to evacuate civilians amid fierce gunfight with a group of foreign terrorists.
Unconfirmed reports claimed the weapons of the martyred soldiers were also found missing.
The entire area witnessed heavy showers during the night and chances are that the patrol party could have taken shelter and rested for a while. It’s when they reportedly came in close contact with the group of terrorists leading to a fierce gunfight. A massive operation is being conducted by the Indian Army in the forward area to neutralise the group of terrorists.
The Army rushed in reinforcements to plug all the escape routes of the terrorists in the area.
Elite para-commandos were also rushed to neutralise the terrorists in the area. Till the time of filing this report, the encounter was going on in the area.
Defence spokesman in Jammu Lt-Col Devender Anand in a statement said, “On the night of 10/11 Oct 21, a counter terrorist operation was launched by the Indian Army and Jammu & Kashmir Police in the area of Shahdara, near the boundary of Poonch-Rajouri districts in J&K”.
During the operation, terrorists brought down a heavy volume of fire on to Army troops leading to fatal injuries to one JCO and four soldiers, he said.
The gallant JCO and soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty have been identified as Nb Subedar Jaswinder Singh, SM, Nk Mandeep Singh, Sep Gajjan Singh, Sep Saraj Singh and Sep Vaisakh H.
Defence PRO said, “After the initial encounter, the terrorists fled to nearby Bhangai village, which falls in Rajouri district, and the encounter is still in progress”.
The frontier districts of Rajouri and Poonch have been regularly witnessing encounters between the security forces and small groups of infiltrators. Three encounters were reported in the month of August in Thanna Mandi area of Rajouri.
In Kashmir valley, two terrorists were gunned down by the joint team of security forces at two different locations. Meanwhile, another operation was launched in Shopian late Monday evening to neutralise a group of terrorists.
According to a police spokesman, “During the intervening night of 10/11 October, on a specific input Bandipora Police conducted an anti-terrorist operation while as one chance encounter also took place in Anantnag resulting in the killing of two terrorists, including Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar of LeT (TRF) involved in recent Shahgund civilian killing”.