MILITANTS KILL 2 BSF JAWANS, TAKE LOCALS HOSTAGE
SRINAGAR: Suspected militants Wednesday attacked a convoy of Border Security Force (BSF) on Jammu-Srinagar highway in Udhampur district, killing two troopers and injuring 13 others before one of the suspects was killed in retaliatory fire.
The second militant has reportedly taken three locals hostage and is believed to be hiding in the dense forests near Nasroo where the attack took place. The hostages have been identified as Desh Raj, Subash Sharma and his cousin, TV reports said.
The attack, which comes a day after three civilians were killed in exchange of gunfire between the armies of India and Pakistan along the Line of Control and International Border, took place in Narsoo area of Udhampur under Chenani police station when a BSF convoy was on way to Jammu from Srinagar.
A J&K Police officer said the militants lobbed hand-grenades and opened indiscriminate fire at the convoy, minutes after a batch of pilgrims had passed through the area to reach the Kashmir Valley for paying obeisance at the Amarnath shrine.
Sources said the suspected militants had taken position on a hillock for launching the attack and took advantage of the rugged terrain to escape from the area. However, one of them was killed.
The identity of the deceased BSF jawans and the suspected militant was not immediately known.
"Militants lobbed grenades and fired at a BSF convoy near Narsu Nallah on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, killing two BSF jawams and injuring 13 others," a police officer at Chenani police station, who is not authorised to speak with media, told The Citizen.
The injured jawans have been shifted to a hospital in Udhampur.
A large contingent of Army, police and BSF troopers have rushed to the spot and a search operation has been launched to nab the suspects. "Two militants were involved in the attack. One of them was killed while the other managed to escape. We have cordoned off the area and search operation is going on," the officer said.
"An attack on this stretch of the NH after a very long time. Worrying development because area was militant free," former J&K chief minister, Omar Abdullah, tweeted.
The Jammu-Srinagar highway, where the attack took place, is the only, all-weather road link of Kashmir with the rest of the world which is cleared for traffic each day by road-opening parties of forces. "The traffic has been stopped for the time being and the second militant, who has taken refuge in the dense forests near the area, has been engaged," the officer added.
Meanwhile, two Army personnel of 42 RR died and two others were injured when soldiers fired at each other in the restive Tral region of Kashmir Valley on Tuesday. Superintendent of Police Awantipora, Mohammad Irshad, said it was a case of mistaken identity.
"Four army men were injured in the shootout in orchards of Noorpora area of Tral. Two among the injured later succumbed to injuries," he said.
The army men of 42 RR were on routine patrolling in the orchards when another group from the same battalion also reached there. Mistaking each another for militants, they opened fire, resulting in casualties.