J&K: 2 Army Soldiers Killed in Poonch Gunfight as Operation Continues on 5th Day
Srinagar: Two army soliders are reported to have been killed in Nar Khas forest of Poonch region in Jammu in the latest gunfight between armed forces and militants taking the toll to seven casualties in the past five days of fresh conflict.
The latest encounter was reported in the general area of Nar Khas forest which covers the Mendhar sub-division in District Poonch, south of the Pir Panjal mountain range. According to an army official, the two soldiers were injured in the firing on Thursday evening but succumbed to their injuries.
The official added that the operation is still “going on.”
“During the operation, there was heavy exchange of fire and in the ensuing gun fight Rifleman Vikram Singh Negi and Rifleman Yogambar Singh were critically injured and later succumbed to their injuries,” a defence spokesperson said.
Negi, 26, is resident of Viman Gaon village of Narendra Nagar area in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttrakhand while Singh, 27, is a resident of Uttarakhand’s Sankari village of Trishulla in Pokhari area of District Chamoli.
The armed forces have called in for reinforcements in the area to tackle the militants, who are believed to have recently infiltrated from across the Line of Control (LoC).
The military operation began in the Poonch’s Dera ki Gali forest following the first contact made earlier on Monday. In the ensuing gunfight, a JCO and four other soldiers were killed while the militant group – now believed to be more than four in number – carried out the attack on the armed forces.
The soldiers Naib Subedar (JCO) Jaswinder Singh, a recipient of Sena Medal, Naik Mandeep Singh, Sepoys Gajjan Singh, Saraj Singh and Vaisakh H were laid to rest amidst glowing tributes while the security forces since then launched a massive cordon and search operation to locate the highly-armed militant group. The casualties were suffered, according to officials, in a dense forest which is divided in Chamrair woods of Poonch and Thanamandi area of Rajouri district.
Officials believe the same group is responsible for the recent casualties.
The militant attack comes amidst rising tension in the region of Jammu and Kashmir which has witnessed over two dozen killings in October alone, including the killings of eight civilians. As many as 23 civilians have been killed in target assassinations this year so far, including members from minority communities, triggering fear and uncertainty.
The security establishment, which includes the Jammu and Kashmir police, Indian Army and paramilitary forces, have launched a massive operation to tackle the increasing violence. In over a week’s time, hundreds have been picked up, summoned and called for questioning by the police in Kashmir valley.
This is the eighth gunfight to have been reported in Jammu division since July and most of these have happened close to the LoC. In the earlier gunfights, two army soldiers were killed on July 8 in Sunderbani area while one JCO died on August 19 incident at Thanamandi area of Rajouri.
A high security alert has been sounded in the region including in the forest area of the Pir Panjal range around the Poonch and Rajouri belt. The security establishment had already sounded an alarm with heightened militant activities in Krishna Ghati and Bhimber Gali suggesting escalation along the south of Pir Panjal belt.
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