Army Intensifies Searches in Kupwara

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Direct Residents to Limit Movement, Flies Sorties to Track Militants 

KUPWARA: A day after an army colonel died in an encounter with the militants, army on Wednesday intensified the search operation in Manigah and Safawali forests. The army has also asked local populace to limit their movement, reports reaching here said.

Local sarpanchs were called by the senior officers and were asked to make announcements for public in Safawali, Kumkadi, Trumnad, Manigah and its adjoining areas not to venture outside.

Following the announcement, a number of villages were cordoned off and massive searches were launched by the army’s 9 PARA, 4 PARA and 41 RR to trace out the militant group, they said.

“The announcement were made as forces have apprehensions that the militants are hiding inside the residential houses or mosques in these areas”, a police official while confirming the incident was quoted as saying.

The forces also pressed choppers and sniffer dogs into service on second consecutive day today, sources said.

When reports last came in the search operation was going on in the area.

Pertinently, army Colonel Santosh Mahadik of 41 RR was killed and two other forces men had received injuries in an encounter at behak forest area near Sonwali village and Kashmiri Manigah.

The said militant group had managed to escape four times since last week in different locations.

The group, according to sources, had managed to give slip to soldiers on Friday evening, before injuring two soldiers at Payerpati forest area in Manigah. Yesterday late in the afternoon, the group had again managed to escape again. “This is for the fourth time when the fleeing militants gave slip to soldiers despite a heavy cordon in the forests,” they said.

Pertinently, the group, according to the police official, had infiltrated on intervening night of 30/31 Oct and was trapped in the mountainous terrain due to heavy rains and snowfall.

On Nov 10, the army’s 41 RR had recovered the body of a militant in Kumkadi forests of Manigah who is believed to have died due to severe cold.

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