Fidayeen strike at Nagrota
7 Army men martyred, 16 hostages including 2 women, two minor children rescued safely
Fidayeen breached multi layered security ring to storm army unit in fortified cantonment
Nagrota based headquarters of Indian army’s well fortified 16 corps headquarters Tuesday woke up to loud sounds of gunshots and grenade blasts. For the first time in the history of 25 year long fight against militancy the strategic garrison town was targeted by the gun totting fidayeen squad (members of suicide squad) dressed in police uniform. The identity of the members of the fidayeen squad could not be ascertained.
The audacious strike mounted on the 166 Field Artillery Unit was reported barely hours before an outgoing Pak army chief General Raheel Sharif handed over his baton to the incumbent Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi.
Message from Pak Loud and Clear
From the Pakistani side the message was loud and clear. They may have effected change of face at the helm but change of heart is just not possible. The warning bells had started ringing in advance as the outgoing army chief General Raheel Sharif defended actions of Pak army and warned India that their silence/patience cannot be treated as their weakness.
The attack was also reported exactly after a gap of two long months after the Indian army conducted the surgical strikes inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and decimated at least 7 terror camps across 4 different locations across the line of control.
As the day progressed and fire fight became more intense questions were asked whether it had become so easy to roam around even close to the corps headquarters without facing any resistance.
Breach of Security?
Hundreds of foot soldiers stand tall inside watchtowers dotting the periphery walls of army units located in the corps headquarters stretched over few kilometers along the Jammu Srinagar National Highway but none of them was able to detect the presence of heavily armed terrorists in the close vicinity of army unit before they stormed the army camp.
Secondly, whichever route the fidayeen squad took to reach Nagrota it only reflected they were able to breach the multi layered security ring before storming the army unit and triggered mayhem.
The state police and army authorities are looking at the possible routes the fidayeen must have taken before reaching the Nagrota base corps headquarters. The possibility that the fidayeen squad had managed to breach the periphery wall even before daybreak and used a similar modus operandi as that of Uri terror strike can not be completely ruled out.
The terror strike stunned the entire security establishment in the state as heavily armed fidayeen group was able to breach the multi layer security ring before storming the 166 Medium Regiment around 5.30 a.m.
According to the statement issued by the Udhampur based Northern command headquarters, “a group of heavily armed terrorists disguised in police uniform targeted an Army unit located three kilometres from the Corps Headquarters at Nagrota in the early hours of Tuesday”.
“The terrorist forced their entry into the Officers Mess complex by throwing grenades and firing at the sentries. In the initial counter action, one officer and three soldiers of the Army were martyred”, the statement said.
According to the army authorities, “the terrorist entered two buildings which were occupied by Officers, families and men. This led to a hostage like situation.The situation was very quickly contained and thereafter, in a deliberate operation all were successfully rescued, which included 12 soldiers, two ladies and two children. However, in this rescue attempt one more officer and two jawans sacrificed their lives”.
Havoc inside Army unit
Once these fidayeens managed to breach the security ring they created havoc inside the army unit.
They stormed the officers mess and lobbed grenades and opened indiscriminate firing.
They then tried to take families of soldiers as hostages but even that situation was prevented by the timely action of brave wives of some officers.
According to inside reports the women despite having minor children in their laps managed to block the way of fidayeen using all possible furniture and other household items to prevent their entry inside their official accommodation.
The fidayeen also avoided to get in to fighting mode with the families as army men were chasing them and they had to take positions to defend themselves.
Meanwhile, one officer and two jawans sacrificed their lives while rescuing the women and children from these buildings. Another officer and three jawans were martyred while trying to contain the fidayeen from entering family quarters inside the army unit.
In another strike along the International border BSF jawans managed to neutralise three heavily armed infiltrators in Ramgarh sector of Samba district.
The infiltrators were actually spotted late in the night but when BSF jawans noticed their suspicious movement they cordoned off the entire area and prevented them from fleeing. Cornered from all sides militants lobbed grenades and opened firing on the BSF jawans. At day break BSF mounted the strike and in the fierce gunfight neutralised three terrorists.
According to BSF spokesman, “Quick reaction teams of BSF had swung in to action after spotting the movement of infiltrators and laid a tight cordon in the area. After the infiltrators realised they have been trapped they started firing automatic weapons and also lobbed grenades on the BSF troops. Unable to move further the infiltrators got holed up in a nearby tube well hut. Taking advantage of the cover they kept firing intermittently till the day break. At the first light the BSF troops tightened the cordon and neutralised the three infiltrators in the heavy exchange of fire”.
One BSF jawan was injured in the cross firing while a DIG rank officer identified as BS Kasana along with one Inspector of Indian Reserve police Sarabjit Singh and BSF constable Vaibhav received injuries after they too came under fire from across the border. BSF recovered 3 AK 47 rifles, 20 AK magazines, 514 AK rounds, 31 grenades, 10 IED’s (5 liquid type and 5 chain IED’s), Chain IED’s are used to blow up railway tracks, one GPS, mobile phone, knife, gloves, dry fruit, plastic cap, batteries, lighter, jacket, bag etc.
Details of martyrs of Indian army
*Major Gosavi Kunal Mannadir*, aged 33 years hailed from Village Pandharpur, Distt Solapur, Maharashtra. He is survived by his wife, Smt Uma K Gosavi.
*Major Akshay Girish Kumar*, aged 31 years , hails from Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka. He is survived by his wife Smt Sangeeta Ravindran.
*Havildar Sukhraj Singh*, aged 32 years, hailed fromVillage Maan Nagar, PO Batala, District Gurdaspur, Punjab. He is survived by his wife Smt Harmeet Kaur.
*Lance Naik Kadam Sambhaji Yeshwantrao* aged 32 yrs, hailed from Village Janapuri, Post Office Wadepuri, Tehsil Loha, District Nanded, Maharashtra. He is survived by his wife, Smt Sheetal.
*Grenadier Raghvendra Singh*, aged 28 years, is survived by his wife, Smt Anjana Sikaewal. The martyr hailed from Village Gadijatar, Tehsil Raja Khera, District Dholpur, Rajasthan.
*Rifleman Asim Rai*, aged 32 years, hailed from Village Ratanchha, PO Khotang, Nepal. He is survived by his wife, Smt Madhu Kala Rai.