A probe by Army probe has raised suspicion on a local porter’s complicity in last month militant strike on a military camp in Panzgam area.
Three soldiers including a captain were killed when a group of militants stormed into the garrison in Kupwara district on April 27. Two militants
were also killed following a nearly four-hour-long gun battle.
In the Uri and Nagrota suicide attacks on military camps last year, the Army probes had pointed to the role of locals working at the facilities in bringing the militants inside and helping them target soldiers.
“The third militant who escaped from the Panzgam encounter site seems to be an insider as he knew the complete layout of the camp and used his knowledge to not only attack the camp but also to escape from there,” a top army source said.
The attack came four days after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi to assess the security situation in the violence-racked state.
As per the initial reports, three militants breached the fence and launched attacks on the camp, which was housing nine army units and acting as their administrative support base. The third militant managed to escape.
“The weapons recovered from the militants also indicate that the two killed had come afresh from across the border as they were carrying new AK-47s while the third weapon left behind by the escaped militant is an old one,” sources said.
They said the old weapon suggests that he has been here for a long time with his weapon and had complete knowledge about the army base.
The sources said efforts are still on to locate the insider and identification process is going on there at the camp, they said.
In the Uri and Nagrota attacks, it was believed that locals who worked either as porters or assistants had provided the attackers inputs and ways of breaching the fence as well as the inside layout of the camp. But this time in Panzgam, it is emerging that the insider had even carried weapons to help the militants, they said.
After the Uri attack, the Army has tried to scrutinize the porters it hires in its camps and is likely to further strengthen the process to employ only highly reliable candidates.
The militants were able to cause heavy damage to Army troops during the Uri strike as they managed to kill 20 of them with most of them asleep, while in Nagrota, nine soldiers died.
However, due to heightened security measures, the militants in Panzgam were contained close to the perimeter fence as one Naik Rishi Singh killed two soon after combat began between the forces and militants.
After two militants were killed and the firing stopped, soldiers launched a combing operation in and around the Army camp. Seven jawans, who were injured in the attack, were airlifted to Srinagar for treatment.