Indian army extents Search operation to new areas in Kupwara

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SRINAGAR — Two days after army colonel was killed in a gunbattle with the militants Kupwara forests, army on Thursday extended the search operation to new areas of north Kashmir district.

Sources said that the army has cordoned off entire Kalaroos forest area and conducted searches for the militants who have managed to break army cordons so far. The search operation in Manigah and Safawali sectors, launched on Monday continued on Thursday.

The massive search and cordon operation is being conducted by the army’s 9 PARA, 4 PARA and 41 RR along with police SOG parties. The army has also pressed choppers in the service to maintain the aerial surveillance over the dense forest area.

Sources said that the army on Thursday fired several shots in an attempt to provoke retaliatory fire from the hiding militants. “However there was no response from the other side. The army soldiers were trying to establish the contact as they apprehend presence of the militants in the forest area.  When reports last came in the search operation was on in the area.

Pertinently, army Colonel Santosh Mahadik of 41 RR was killed and two other personnel were injured in an encounter at Behak forest area near Sonwali village and Manigah two days back.

The said militant group had managed to escape army dragnet four times since last week from 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. On Wednesday late afternoon, the group had managed to escape again. “This is for the fourth time when the militants gave slip to soldiers despite a heavy cordon in the forests,” they had said.

Pertinently, the group, according to a police official, had infiltrated on intervening night of 30/31 October 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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