JEHANGIR ALI | 11 FEBRUARY, 2018
Heavy Toll: 5 Soldiers, One Civilian, 4 Militants Die In Fidayeen Attack on “Guarded” Army Station
How did the militants pass the barriers?
SRINAGAR: Security forces shot dead fourth suspected militant in the ongoing operation at the Sunjuwan military station with the Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat arriving in Jammu to take stock of the situation. Five Army soldiers, including two officers, and a civilian have been killed at the station so far.
Despite a security alert, suspected members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad's Afzal Guru squad struck at the army installation in Jammu region in wee hours of Saturday. The attack took place a day after Kashmir shut to observe the 2001 parliament attack convict’s death anniversary. An army major and another soldier are critical, official sources said.
Initial investigations into the ongoing attack at the highly fortified army military station point to the involvement of a group of “four to five militants of the Afzal Guru squad” who were cornered inside a 'sanitized' part of JCO residential quarters, where army officers and soldiers put up with their families.
“We are proceeding with caution since there are soldiers and family members in the adjacent building who are being evacuated. The operation is going on. The exchange of gunshots has stopped but there are fears that more militants may be hiding in the building. We are sanitizing the building and special forces have been involved to take out any surviving militants,” a senior J&K Police officer said.
While the Army maintains that only one officer was killed, JK's parliamentary affairs minister Abdul Rehman Veeri informed the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly yesterday that Subedar Madanlal Chowdhary and Subedar Mohammed Ashraf Mir were killed in the attack by a group of militants.
Ten others including a major and the daughter of an army officer were wounded in the ongoing, pre-dawn fidayeen attack. Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke with the Director General of J&K Police, S P Vaid, seeking details about the attack. “The DGP has apprised him of the situation. The MHA is closely monitoring the situation," a tweet by the MHA said.
Earlier, a group of fidayeen broke into the Army camp before dawn from the rear side and gained access into the family quarters where they started firing indiscriminately. “The militants entered into the residential quarters where they targeted the family members of the Army personnel. A junior commissioner officer and a non-commissioned officer have been killed in the attack,” Vaid said.
Chief of police for Jammu region, SD Singh Jamwal told reporters yesterday that the attack took place at around 4:55 am when a sentry noticed suspicious movement near the camp and soon his bunker was fired upon. “The fire was retaliated. We have cornered the gunmen in one of the family quarters," he said.
Officials said a large contingent of the Army and police have cordoned off the area around the Sunjwan Army camp which falls under the first Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in 36 Brigade. To prevent any untoward incident, schools and business establishment in the area around the camp are closed as a precautionary measure.
“A high alert has been sounded in Jammu and security beefed up in and around the city. We had intelligence inputs about an attack on the Army or security establishment by Jaish-e-Mohammed in view of the death anniversary of Afzal Guru,” the police officer said.
No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. The identity of the slain militants has not been confirmed. However, a large cache of arms and ammunition has been recovered from the gunned down militants.
During the ongoing budget session of the J&K legislature, speaker of assembly, Kavinder Gupta, today sought to blame Rohingyas, who are putting up in Jammu region, for the attack. “The attack took place due to presence of Rohingyas in the area,” Gupta said, drawing sharp reaction from the opposition who accused him of targeting people from a particular community.
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