Reinforcements rushed to Keran Sector

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Gunbattle Enters 10th Day, Injured Soldier Succumbs

SRINAGAR: Fresh reinforcements were called in to combat the militants who have allegedly occupied three Indian Observation Posts near Line of Control (LoC) in Keran Sector of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district. The shooters have cordoned off the area from all sides so as to block any kind of supply to infiltrated militants.

Sources identified the two observation posts out of three which are allegedly occupied by militants, as Khokri and Kullar posts. They also identified the posts from Pakistani side which are opposite to Indian posts as Biswal and Ahithana posts.

Reports said that a joint team of Army’s counter insurgency units 3/3 GR, 15 RR, 16 GR and 5 ASSAM were conducting intense searches of the densely forested areas of Shalabhutoo and Naranad forests. 

Additional reinforcement of about 300 to 400 personnel of 9 -Para and 4-Para were called from Bandipore, Lolab and Handwara areas who have been rushed to the area deal with the militants inside the forest area of Shalbhutoo, who, according to sources, managed to sneak into this side last month.

The PARA shooters, according to sources pressed choppers into service in the area to locate the militants who are nearly 2 to 3 kilometres inside Indian territory. “During the search operation, Army also used sniffer dogs to locate the militants,” sources said.

Official sources said that the operation will be finished in 5 to 7 days as they have surrounded the whole area. “Special troops deployed in the area have blocked all ways for militants to escape and there is no chance of any outside supply to these intruders,” sources said.   

Army has also started major combing operations in the adjoining forest areas amid intelligence reports that suggest the hiding of militants in other dense forests.

The militants according to sources were well trained and were using Global Positioning System (GPS) to monitor the situation.  Army had earlier claimed to have killed at least 12 -15 unidentified militants in a 10-day long fierce gun-battles. The bodies of these killed militants have been reportedly taken back by intruders from Pakistani side. However, senior Army official said that Pakistani side took advantage of darkness and bad weather and the area was of high altitude which in all ways favored them (militants).   

Meanwhile, a rifleman Kiran Gurang of 15 RR who had received two bullets on his neck and back side on Sep 30 succumbed to his injuries on Thursday in Army’s 92-Base Hospital here in Srinagar.

The five troopers who were injured in the week long operation have been identified as Havaldar T.B. Roka , rifleman Youg Bahadur, rifleman Tejinder KC, a rifleman Sandir Anva and rifleman Tula Ram. All the injured troopers belong to 3/3 GR and are admitted in Army’s 92 Base Hospital here in Srinagar.

Pertinently, on Wednesday, GOC Gurmit Singh said that operation is in progress and retrieval of militant bodies lying in the area is not an issue of importance. He said the focus is to finish the operation without giving casualties. 

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