HOSTAGES RESCUED, MILITANT CAUGHT ALIVE
Terrorist Usman caught in Jammu and Kashmir
SRINAGAR: High drama unfolded in Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday morning when three suspected militants dressed in Army fatigues attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) convoy in Udhampur district, killing two jawans and injuring 13 others, before one of the suspects was captured alive by locals. The gun-battle is still underway.
The attack, which comes a day after three civilians were killed in the exchange of gunfire between the armies of India and Pakistan along the Line of Control and International Border in Jammu, took place in Simroli 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. "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.
There are reports that one of the militants tried to force his entry into a bus carrying BSF jawans but a CRPF man, part of a patrolling party near the area, shot him dead. The injured BSF jawans have been shifted to a hospital in Udhampur. The identity of the slain jawans and militant could not be known immediately.
In the meantime, two militants, who escaped from the area, took advantage of the rugged terrain and disappeared into the forests. "One of the militants had taken three locals hostage, but the victims showed exemplary courage and shouted for help which attracted more people who overpowered the militant and handed him over to police," the police officer said.
A large contingent of Army, police and BSF troopers has been rushed to the area. "There were three militants involved in the attack. One of the militant was killed, one was captured while the other managed to escape. We have cordoned off the area and the encounter is still going on," the officer said.
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 attack momentarily halted traffic on the highway.
"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.
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 Kqashmir 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.