Srinagar/Jammu: Two soldiers were killed and five others injured on Monday in two gunfights in central Kashmir’s Budgam district and near the Line of Control in Jammu.
Reports said a joint team of army’s 53 Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operations Group (SOG) of police laid a cordon around Kaisarmulla village of Chadoora (Budgam) on Monday afternoon after receiving information about the presence of a group of heavily armed militants in a residential house. As the joint team started combing operations, the holed up militants opened a volley of gunfire to break the cordon. The forces returned the fire triggering a fierce gun-battle.
In the ensuing encounter, four soldiers were injured. The injured were removed to army’s Badami Bagh Cantonment hospital here for treatment. However, one of the injured succumbed to his injuries before the doctors could operate upon him. The slain soldier was identified as Mir Mushtaq of Chadoora. He was associated with 162 battalion of Territorial Army and was currently attached with 53 RR. The injured soldiers have been identified as Riflemen Joginder, Sandeep Kumar and Teerath Kumar.
As the gunfight turned intense, additional reinforcements of police and army were sent to the area to assist the forces. The intermittent exchange of fire continued for nearly two hours during which forces also laid cordon around Naibug and Bogam villages to prevent militants from fleeing. However, late night reports said the militants have managed to give slip to the contingents of army and police.
Quoting sources, a local news gathering agency said three Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants including a top commander of the outfit were hiding in the house that belonged to a police constable.
Army’s Srinagar-based spokesman, Lt Col NN Joshi confirmed that an army trooper was killed in the encounter and three others sustained injuries.
Meanwhile, an army soldier was killed and two of his colleagues injured in an attack by suspected militants who set off a mine blast and opened fire on a patrol party along the LoC here.
“In an incident near Akhnoor a patrol of the army was targeted by mines and small arms fire by a group of unidentified armed personnel (possibly a Border Action Team, BAT, of Pak),” an army spokesman was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
“After (the) attack, alert Indian troops returned effective fire and the group fled back across the LoC towards the Pakistan army’s post,” he said.
In the ensuing engagement two soldiers suffered splinter injuries (from mine blast) and gunshot wounds, while Sepoy Bhikale Uttam Balu was killed, the spokesman said, adding that the injured soldiers were under treatment and out of danger.
The deceased Sepoy belonged to the 2nd Maratha Light Infantry (MLI) and the injured Havaldar Vinood Kumar is of 4-Engineers belonging to Karnataka and Amul Kumar of 2nd Engineers belonging to Kerala.
The injured were airlifted for treatment to the Military Hospital, Udhampur Northern Command.
Search operations were in progress till the last report came in.
On August 6, last year, Pakistani troops allegedly entered Indian territory along the LoC in the Poonch sector in J&K and ambushed a patrol killing five Indian soldiers.
Pakistani troops on January 8, 2013 allegedly crossed into Indian territory and ambushed an army patrol party beheading two soldiers at Sarla post along the LoC in Poonch.
In 2013, 12 Indian soldiers were killed and 41 injured in the clashes with the Pakistani troops along the LoC.
(with inputs from PTI)