Srinagar, July 31: Massive search operation in most parts of the North Kashmir forests continued for third day today following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants while as fresh clashes erupted between militants and troopers in Churunda sector of Uri in Baramulla. The operation in the Machil Sector in Kupwara district is also on.
Sources said that army on Monday launched searches in Hafrada forests, Shamswari, Badnimal, Hagnikoot, Baliyan Behak, Waderballa, Rajwar and its adjoining areas in frontier district of Kupwara to track down a group of militants that apparently crossed over to this side in recent past.
They said that a fresh militant group might have entered through Tanghdar or Keran Sector, as in recent past there was a surge in infiltration attempts. “Helicopters were used in these forest areas several times since yesterday to locate the militant group,” a senior Army officer told GNS on phone.
6 RR assisted with additional deployment in the area and Special Operation Group (SOG) of JK Police are carrying out the massive searches of the dense forests.
During last week, soldiers near the LoC in Keran had noticed a group of militants sneaking into this side. “When they were challenged in Keran on this side, the militants had opened fire which was retaliated triggering an encounter. However, after a brief gunfight an unidentified militant was killed and others managed to escape.”
The sources said that at least four to six militants have succeeded in sneaking into this side. “Both the sides exchanged the fire twice.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Army’s 6 RR along with reinforcement intensified their combing operation in Hafrada forests. “A fresh gun battle rages in the area between hiding militants and troops resulting in injuries to trooper of 6 RR who was immediately taken to 92 base hospital via helicopter here in Srinagar,” a senior defense army official said.
In Machil sector, the operation continued on second day. Sources said that a group of 5-6 militants managed to sneak in to this side about 2.5 Kilometers at Boriwallan Nad near Jalender post. “The group later intercepted by the troops got involved in a day long gunfight in which four intruders were killed till late Tuesday evening,” sources said, adding the operation in the area is still going on to nab the other two militants which either moved back or might have managed to sneak in to this side.
The sources also said that a fresh encounter broke out between militants and troops of 3 DOGRA in Churanda area of Uri Sector in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Meanwhile, Army’s Srinagar-based spokesman said that searches are continuing in the areas following the inputs about the presence of militants. “We are not in a position to say whether this is a fresh militant group or the old one. Further information is awaited,” the spokesman added.
According to KMS, seven youth were killed by Indian troops during the ongoing military operations in the Keran and Machil areas of the district.
However, Indian Army officers talking to media men claimed that the martyred youth were militants, who were killed during gunfights that took place on Monday and Tuesday in the areas.