Three terrorists gunned down in J&K operation

17 Sep 2023

Srinagar/New Delhi : The army on Saturday foiled an infiltration attempt on the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector, killing three terrorists who, the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps said, were trying to cross over from the other side while Pakistani soldiers stationed there provided cover fire.

Pakistani forces have routinely aided infiltrators but Saturday’s incident is the first of this kind in months. Both sides have largely stuck to a ceasefire agreed upon in February 2021 and officials aware of the matter said Saturday’s incident could potentially trigger a cycle of ceasefire violations.

“02xTerrorists have been eliminated and bodies recovered, third terrorist killed but retrieval of body being interfered by firing by Pak post in vicinity, on LoC,” the Chinar corps wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Saturday’s attempt was also the first for this year in Uri, which was once a major infiltration route towards north Kashmir but has of late been under constant surveillance with two brigades of Army’s 19 infantry division keeping a close watch.

Brigadier PMS Dhillon, the Commander of 161 Brigade, said that the army and police received information about terrorists planning to infiltrate and disturb the situation in J&K, especially in Uri and Baramulla. “The ambushes were laid in the forward areas as per the intelligence inputs. The weather was bad this morning. It was raining and conditions were foggy. At 6.40am, the ambush party of the Army’s Rustum battalion noticed movement of 3 to 4 infiltrators who were trying to cross the stream near Hatlanga. The contact was established and firefight with terrorists continued for two hours,” he said.

The officer, flanked by DIG North Kashmir Vivek Gupta and SSP Baramulla Amod Nagpure at a press conference, said the army used grenade and rocket launchers “in which one terrorist was neutralised”.

Dhillon said the Indian ambush parties noticed two more terrorists who were injured but had changed course, prompting the forces to follow them which led to another firefight that continued for half an hour. “In the gunfight one more terrorist was killed while the other terrorist managed to exfiltration to other side after he got fire support from the Pakistani post,” he added.

The incident comes close on the heels of two army officers, including a colonel, a jawan, and a senior police official being killed during an operation to flush out terrorists from a forested region in Anantnag.

On Saturday, forces hunted for the perpetrators for a fourth day. “The operation has entered its final stage and there will be positive news shortly,” said a senior officer, asking not to be named. The operation continued despite heavy rain in the area, with the anti-terror squads targeting the suspected hideout of the terrorists with an array of weapons including Carl-Gustaf M4 shoulder-fired weapon system and under-barrel grenade launchers.

Northern Army commander Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi on Saturday reviewed the counterterror operations.

The Uri incident has raised questions about the ceasefire between the two armies.

The restoration of ceasefire in February 2021 between Indian and Pakistani militaries along the LoC in J&K has held well and led to a drop in infiltration by terrorists (at least until a few months ago). Indian and Pakistani militaries announced on February 25 that year they had begun observing a ceasefire along the LoC from the midnight of February 24. The two countries had agreed to a ceasefire on the LoC in November 2003, but it was frequently violated.

The brigade commander said the operation and searches continued till 2pm. “Our parties are still in the area.”

He said that the operation demonstrated how Pakistani army was helping infiltration of terrorists into Kashmir to disrupt peace. “Five kilograms of IED, one AK-47, an AK-74 rifle, and seven magazines and a Chinese pistol were recovered from the terrorists,” he added.

On July 18, two infiltrators were gunned down in Kupwara soon after they sneaked into Machil forests. The forces then launched a thorough search in the morning, resulting in recovery of four AK series rifles, one under-barrel grenade launcher (UBGL), five UBGL grenades, nine magazines, 175 AK rounds, six hand grenades, tactical vests and large quantity of war like stores.

On June 23, security forces foiled a major infiltration bid by killing four militants along LoC in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district and on June 16, the army and police foiled another major infiltration bid at Jumgund Keran close to the LoC in the Kupwara district, and killed five unidentified foreign militants.