The Indian army foiled an infiltration attempt by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) by killing at least seven Pak army regulars and terrorists near the Line of Control in Keran sector of Jammu & Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday.
Colonel Rajesh Kalia, Indian Army’s Srinagar-based spokesperson, said: “In the last 36 hours, number of attempts [were made by Pakistan-backed militants] to disrupt the peace and to target the Amarnath Yatra in Kashmir. A BAT attempt was made on one of the forward posts in Keran sector. It was foiled by alert troops resulting in the killing of five to seven regulars/militants."
The Indian Army also extended an offer to Pakistan to approach the LoC with white flag and take the bodies of their personnel. On Sunday morning, Colonel Kalia issued a statement stating that on Saturday evening, Indian Army offered Pakistan to retrieve the bodies for last rites but “Pak Army has not responded yet.”
Pakistan’s Border Action Teams are small units consisting of Pak Special Forces and terrorists, which make infiltration attempts across the LoC.
Since Friday afternoon, four terrorists of Jaish-e-Muhammad have been killed in north and south Kashmir. Two JeM terrorists were gunned down by the security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district while two more were killed in north Kashmir’s Sopore area in Baramulla district.
Sepoy Rambir Singh of 34 Rashtriya Rifle was martyred in the Shopian gun battle.
The defence spokesperson said that besides killing of four JeM terrorists in the hinterland in encounters (on Friday and Saturday) “recovery of cache of arms, sniper riffle, IED and a mine with Pakistani markings clearly indicates complicity of Pakistan in militant activities. Security forces will continue to respond to all nefarious activities along the LoC and the hinterland.”
On Friday, General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Srinagar-based Chinar 15 Corps, Lieutenant General KJS Dhilon, had stated that infiltration attempts were on the rise on all traditional and non-traditional routes as well. He had also stated that terror launch pads were full of terrorists across the LoC and terrorists are waiting to sneak in.
Earlier on Thursday, Army chief General Bipin Rawat also visited forward areas and reviewed the situation along the LoC and preparedness of the Counter-Militancy Infiltration Grid.
The four terrorists killed in Friday’s encounters belonged to JeM. Two terrorists killed in Sopore were identified as Umar Shahbaz Wani of Bandipora and a Pak terrorist code-named Khalid. The other two killed in Shopian were identified as Zeenat ul Islam Naikoo of Memandar Shopian and Mazoor of Bhat of Wachi Shopian. A huge gathering of mourners was witnessed in Bandipora after the body of the slain militant Shahbaz Wani reached his native village. The slain militant was buried amid sloganeering at his ancestral village in the district.
Similarly in Memander village of Shopian, people from various areas gathered and offered funeral prayers to slain militant Zeenat ul Islam Naikoo.
Extra troops to ease burden
There is tension in the Valley including the border areas after additional paramilitary troops were sent to Kashmir following inputs about a potential attack on Amarnath pilgrims by Pakistan-based terrorists.
Police said in a press briefing that the additional troops have been deployed to give rest to the on-duty troops who have been on “hectic” assignments including Amarnath Yatra and Panchayat elections. Lt Gen Dhillon along with Additional Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Zulfiqar Hasan, DGP Dilbagh Singh and IGP Kashmir SP Pani said the additional forces in the valley have been brought in to give strength to counter-insurgency grid following inputs about militants planning to conduct attacks.
The deployment and the subsequent orders with regard to law & order had triggered panic in the valley coupled with uncertainty and speculations. Dispelling the speculations, the police chief said that on-duty troops need some rest. “We have been into a number of activities for the last 9 to 10 months. We had Panchayat and local body elections followed by parliamentary elections, and now this Amarnath Ji Yatra which is going on. The troops did not get a chance to relax for a while so we requested the MHA to give them some relief and in view of the fresh inputs that violence levels will be increased by the militants,” the police chief said.