Poonch Encounter Rages On; JCO, Another Soldier Killed

KO File Photo

Srinagar: Two Army personnel were killed on Thursday in an encounter with militants at Bhata Dhurian in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch district. The deceased include a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and a jawan, reports reaching here said.

Defence spokesman, Jammu, Lt Colonel Devendra Anand told Kashmir Observer over phone that the combing and search operation in the forest area of Dera Ki Gali (DKG) continued for the fourth consecutive day Thursday.

He said a contact was established with the militants leading to an encounter.

The gunfight, he said, took place around 30-35 kms from last Monday’s spot where five army men, including a JCO were killed in the gunfight.

“During the ensuing exchange of fire, one JCO and one soldier have been critically injured. The operations are under progress. Update follows.”

Earlier, gunshots were heard on Thursday during the search and cordon operation started by the army in Surankote area of Poonch district.

Police sources said the army started a cordon and search operation involving several villages adjacent to Dhera Ki Gali in Surankote area.

Thursday’s operation was started by the army three days after five soldiers, including a JCO, were killed by militants in the same area.

The encounter on October 11 was the deadliest the area had witnessed in 17 years, the last being in 2004, when four soldiers had been killed.

Reports said vehicular traffic on Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch highway has been suspended between BG and Surankote amid ongoing anti militancy operation in Bhata Dhurian.

Notably, in order to check any such escape, the security agencies have asked the security forces in the border hinterlands to maintain the highest mode of alertness. Surprise nakas and patrols have also been started in the range.

Terming the operation in the forest area as a very difficult operation, the defense spokesman said, "It was in an open area with thick forest cover and vegetation.The security forces are carrying this operation by taking a lot of caution."

“The operation in DKG has been continuously going on since yesterday. As per inputs it is believed that 3-4 militants are still holed up inside the area." PRO Defence Jammu, Lt Col Devendra Anand said.

When asked whether the security forces have used any drones to locate the hiding militants, the official said that when the last update came, no drones were deployed in the area.

"There's only a heavy deployment of the personnels from Rashtriya Rifle and J&K." The Defence spokesperson said.

Soldier Shoots Self Dead

Reports from North Kashmir said a soldier allegedly shot himself dead with his service rifle at a camp in Kupwara district on Thursday.

They said Sepoy Deeraj Kumar of the Engineering Unit was posted in a camp at Kralpora when he shot himself. Soon, the sources said, he was shifted to military hospital Drugmulla where he was referred to Command Hospital Udhampur for further treatment. Later he succumbed to the injuries, they said. It was immediately not known why the soldier took the extreme step.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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