The ferocity of the fighting between Indian security forces and terrorists holed up in the jungles of Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district for at least eight days suggests the cross-border intruders were trained by Pakistani commandos, sources in the Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police have told NDTV
The ferocity of the fighting between Indian security forces and terrorists holed up in the jungles of Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district for at least eight days suggests the cross-border intruders were trained by Pakistani commandos, sources in the Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police have told NDTV. Nine soldiers, including two Junior Commissioned Officers, have been killed in the firefight since Monday, in what has been described as the deadliest encounter for India's military in Jammu and Kashmir in recent years.
The fighting in the 8-9 km stretch of thick forests has continued despite a massive combing operation, a tight cordon and intense shelling, NDTV said. In the first exchange with these terrorists, five soldiers were killed on the night of October 10 in the Dera Wali Gali area of Poonch, which is close to the Line of Control with Pakistan. Following this, an army group searching for the terrorists were ambushed in the forests of Nar Khas on Thursday. Two soldiers were killed and two more went missing. Their bodies were recovered after a tough operation two days later.
Sources in the army and the local police suggest that the fact that this group of terrorists have been able to inflict such heavy casualties while managing to evade thousands of security forces for eight days suggests they were trained by elite commandos of the Pakistani military.
"The group of terrorists may also include Pakistani commandos. But we will only know for sure once they are shot down," an officer, requesting not to be named, said.
Meanwhile, targeted killings of civilians continued in the union territory with two migrant labourers from Bihar being gunned down by terrorists on Sunday, taking the number of civilians killed in Jammu and Kashmir this month to 11. The killings came a day after a snack-food street vendor hawker from Bihar and a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh were shot dead by terrorists in the Valley. Both the labourers were Muslims. The hawker, Arbind Kumar Sah, was shot at point-blank range in Srinagar. The carpenter, Sagir Ahmad, was shot dead by terrorists in Pulwama, police said.
Of the 11 people killed in the spate of attacks on civilians, five were from other states. This indicates that the terrorists want to drive people from other states out of Kashmir, an official told NDTV..
Among the victims are Makhan Lal Bindroo, a prominent member of the Kashmiri Pandit community and owner of a pharmacy in Srinagar, Mohammad Shafi Lone, a taxi driver, teachers Deepak Chand and Supunder Kaur and street food vendor Virender Paswan.
The killings have sparked fear in the Valley, prompting an exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit families living in transit camps. Dozens of families, including those of government employees who returned to the Valley after getting jobs under the Prime Minister's special scheme for Kashmiri migrants, have left.
In the wake of the attacks, police have launched a massive crackdown and detained about 900 people across the union territory for alleged links with separatists.
The security forces have also intensified anti-terror operations. According to the police, 13 terrorists have been killed over the past week.