JAMMU, DEC 22
Security forces on Friday launched a massive cordon and search operation in the forest area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, a day after five army personnel were killed and two others injured in a terrorist attack.
The General officer Commanding (GoC), XVI corps, Lieutenant General Sandeep Jain visited the area and reviewed the situation with top army and police officers, officials said.
‘Indian Army and White knight Corps salutes the bravery and supreme sacrifice of four soldiers in Surankote on yesterday while fighting the scourge of terrorism,’ White Knight Corps, or XVI corps, wrote on X.
An official said aerial monitoring using helicopters is also being conducted and sniffer dogs have been pressed into service to track down the terrorists who ambushed two Army vehicles in the area Thursday afternoon.
“A massive cordon and search operation has begun this morning after a night cordon in area,” an officer said.
The operation was still going on.
He said that additional troops have been inducted into area to track down the terrorists involved in the firing.
On Thursday, around 3.45 pm, the two army vehicles carrying personnel to the site of a cordon-and-search operation came under attack at a blind curve at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz under the jurisdiction of the Surankote police station.
The officer quoted above said the Dhera Ki Gali (DKG) Road has been closed for traffic. Top officials of army and police are monitoring in the situation at the ground.
The heavily-armed terrorists, believed to three to four in number, initially took position on hill tops and chose a blind curve to target the army vehicles.
After the attack, they reportedly mutilated the bodies of at least two soldiers and have taken weapons of some of them, officials say.
The security officials say that investigation of site is being carried out to know the pattern and use of weapons including steel core bullets in the ambush.
Security experts said on Friday the rising number of terror incidents in the Rajouri-Poonch region is concerning.
“It is matter of concern. It is second incident in the last two months. This region was peaceful till recently. During last two years, 35 soldiers were martyred here. Why is it happening? Why have terrorists got so emboldened?” Defence expert Col S S Pathania said.
Security expert Captain (retd) Anil Gaur said that Pakistan is trying to revive terrorism in this region by engineering these incidents.
“There is some fault in how we are dealing with terrorism. It is time to strengthen intelligence and security setup of the region and eliminate all terrorists in difficult areas. There are caves,” he said.
In Jammu, several bodies including the Jammu Statehood Organisation held anti-Pakistan protests in the city and burnt the effigy of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, opposition parties are questioning the government over the Poonch attack with many of their leaders accusing the government of doing “politics over the lives of security personnel.” Recently, Shiv Sena UBT MP Sanjay Raut compared the attack with the Pulwama attack and asked if the BJP wants to “seek votes again on the Pulwama issue in 2024″.
Referring to the terror attack, Ravinder Sharma, vice-president of J-K Congress, expressed concern about the situation in the region. He said that the attack was an open challenge to the country. “Terrorism has been revived in Rajouri-Poonch but the government is saying there is peace in the region,” he added.