Terrorists regrouping across South Kashmir
The deafening noise of gunshots during an anti-terrorist operation Wednesday shattered peaceful environs in the South Kashmir district of Anantnag in which three top-ranking officers including a Colonel of the Indian Army, a Major, and a Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police were ‘killed in action‘.
Ironically, terrorists, hiding in the area, could not be neutralized by the joint team of security forces despite suffering huge losses.
The officials killed in action have been identified as Colonel Manpreet Singh, a commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Ashish Dhonchak, Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Humayun Bhat. The commanding Officer hailed from the Ropar district of Punjab while DySP Humayun Bhat, son of a retired IG rank police officer, hailed from Kashmir. He leaves behind a month-old son.
Ministry of Defence Spokesman, A Bharat Bhushan Babu posted a tweet saluting the supreme sacrifice made by the senior army personnel in the line of duty. “Salute to the supreme sacrifice made by Indian Army personnel in today’s Operation in J&K. Unwavering courage, dedication & service to our Nation will always be remembered. Our deepest condolences to the bereaved families. Our resolve to root out terrorism is further strengthened”.
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, also paid homage by laying a wreath on the mortal remains of DySP Humayun Bhat who laid down his life during an operation in Anantnag district today.
The Lt Governor also paid tributes to the Indian Army’s brave martyrs Col Manpreet Singh and Major Ashish Dhancok. He said the entire nation stands firmly with their families in this hour of grief.
Kashmir Valley has not witnessed any major terrorist operations in recent months. A colonel rank officer along with a Major was killed in action on May 3, 2020, in north Kashmir’s Handwara.
Since the beginning of the year 2023, the terrorist outfits have changed their tactics by targeting army personnel in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch.
Five Indian soldiers were killed in action when a moving army vehicle was ambushed by a group of terrorists close to the line of control in the Poonch district on April 20, 2023. Fifteen days later in another gruesome strike five elite commandos of Para Special forces were ‘killed in action’ by a group of heavily armed terrorists, possibly trained in guerilla warfare, in the thickly forested belt of Kotranka in the frontier district of Rajouri.
According to agency reports, the banned Resistance Front believed to be a shadow group of LeT, has claimed responsibility.
Soon after the reports emerged of possible fatal injuries to senior most officers present at the site of the encounter, the General Officer in Command, Chinar Corps Lt-Gen Rajiv Ghai, DGP Dilbagh Singh, and ADGP Kashmir range Vijay Kumar also rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation
Army authorities pressed a cheetah helicopter into service to evacuate the critically injured officers from the spot but none of them survived the fatal injuries.
The anti-terrorist operation was launched by the joint team of security forces in the Garol area of Anantnag on the intervening night of 12-13 September.
Chinar Corps in a tweet said, “Based on specific intelligence on the presence of terrorists a Joint Operation was launched by the Indian Army & J&K Police on the intervening night of 12-13 Sep in Area Garol, Anantnag. Contact was established and a firefight ensued. Two Army personnel and one J&K Police personnel were injured. Operation in progress”.
The operation was launched after receiving inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area. On Wednesday when the search operations were going on in the area, the senior officers were targeted by the terrorists from their safe hideout.
According to ground reports, the commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles was leading the operation when a group of terrorists opened fire on the advancing team of security forces near their hideout in the area.
Meanwhile, the Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi on Wednesday said, “Pakistan is making full efforts to infiltrate foreign terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir to hinder the progress being made in internal security conditions in the region.”
He said that the Army has tried to neutralize foreign terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch.
“The biggest thing is that Pakistan is trying to make efforts from its side to send foreign terrorists here, despite the better internal conditions (security situation), so that they can create some kind of obstacle.
“This is because of the progress that we are making in Jammu and Kashmir”, Lt Gen Dwivedi told reporters on the sidelines of the North Tech Symposium at the IIT campus at Jagti on the outskirts of Jammu city.
Replying to another question about the Rajouri encounter, he said that in Poonch and Rajouri “we tried to neutralize foreign terrorists on Line of Control (LoC) itself”.
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- Commanding Officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Major and Dy SP J&K Police martyred in an encounter in Anantnag - September 13, 2023