Body recovered of army porter buried in snow in Gurez
Srinagar: At least five army soldiers are missing after a snow avalanche hit army bunkers along the Line of Control (LoC) at two separate places in north Kashmir on Monday.
Srinagar-based army spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia told Kashmir Reader, “Two of our soldiers slipped down the slope in Nowgam sector of Kupwara while three other soldiers are missing since they were hit by snow in Gurez sector of Bandipora.”
“I have had no communication with the two sectors where the incidents happened since the initial information that five of our soldiers are missing. Once I get further details, I will get back to the media,” Kalia said.
A source in Gurez valley, 130 km from Srinagar, said that an army patrol of 36 Rashtriya Rifles was hit by an avalanche during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday. “It was around 1am that the army patrol was hit by the avalanche and buried in snow. Three soldiers of the patrol are missing since then,” he said.
A police official in Bandipora said that the incident took place in Baktoor area at army’s Nani Post along the LoC.
“There is some 6 feet of snow at the spot and rescue operations are intermittently hit. Everything is being done by the army itself, as the spot is almost on the LoC,” the police official said.
“The three soldiers are still missing and rescue operations will resume on Wednesday morning as there is continuous snowfall,” the source from Gurez valley said.
A senior police official from Kupwara told Kashmir Reader that the incident of two soldiers slipping in the snow took place late on Monday night, when a post along the LoC was hit by an avalanche. “We have not been officially communicated by the Indian Army in this regard,” he said. “The rescue, near the LoC, is being done by the army itself.”
The two missing soldiers belong to army’s 17 Infantry Brigade based in Kupwara.
Sub-divisional magistrate Gurez, Sandeep Singh Bali, told this newspaper from Jammu, “Everything is fine in Gurez but right now I’m in the winter capital attending a meeting.”
“I appeal to all the residents of Gurez, especially in Tulail, Kilshay and Dawar areas, wherever they are, to please stay inside their homes till the weather stabilises,” Bali said.
He said that government offices have been closed in the region.
“The roads from Bandipora town towards Gurez valley have been closed due to snow, but we have readied the chopper service,” Bali said. “There are strong winds at Razdan Pass and whenever the winds slow down and there is visibility, the helicopters will start ferrying emergency passengers,” he said.
A police official said that a porter working for the army in Kilshay area of Gurez was killed when hit by heavy snow on Monday morning.
The slain porter was identified as Ghulam Muhammad Khan, son of Ghulam Rasool Khan. His body has been recovered.