Reyaz Rashid

Infiltration bid foiled near LoC in Baramulla, 3 infiltrators killed: Army

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Rampur (Uri)/Srinagar: The Army claimed to have foiled an infiltration bid near the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Thursday, killing three militants and recovering a large cache of arms and ammunition, officials said.

In a press conference at Rampur Uri, Commanding Officer Army’s 3 Rajput, Manish Panj , who was flanked by General Officer Commanding (GOC), 19 Infantry Division, Major General Virender Vats, said  that three militants were killed in the gunfight which had ensued on Thursday morning  after days of cordon-and-search-operation in the vast area.

“The group of terrorists was intercepted at Hathlanga area of Uri at 6 am. Surveillance was enhanced and the group was challenged. Three terrorists were killed after a brief exchange of fire,” he informed.

He further said huge quantity of arms and ammunition that includes five AK-47 riffles, seven pistols, five AK magazines, 24 UBGl grenades, 38 Chinese grenades, seven Pakistan-made grenades, Rs 35000 in Pakistani currency and some edibles were recovered from the encounter site.

On whether today’s infiltration had any Afghanistan link, he said: “Army is alert and that we were anticipating change in the behavior of Pakistan in the month of September and expecting infiltration ahead of the onset of winter. I would not like to connect this with the geo-politics. We are ready to foil all bids.”

He said after sanitizing the area, Uri operation has been called off.

Meanwhile, briefing the media at the Army’s Chinar Corps headquarters in Srinagar, GoC Lt. General D P Pandey said there has been increased activity “at the terrorist launchpads on the other side of the LoC recently”.

“While there was no infiltration since the beginning of the year, there has been a lot of activity at the launchpads, which cannot happen without the knowledge of Pakistan Army commanders,” he said.

Lt Gen. Pandey said this was evident from the infiltration bid that was eliminated on Thursday and the one foiled in the Uri sector on September 18-19.

Asked about the identity and nationality of the slain infiltrators, the Army officer said according to the documents recovered from their person, “one of them was a Pakistani while we are not sure about the other two yet”.

Giving details of the five-day combing operation in Gohalan and adjacent areas in Uri, he said the operation, as of now, has ceased.

“There were six terrorists, four on the other side of the LoC and two had managed to enter our side of the territory. They were challenged and after a brief gunfight, they went back. The combing operation of the rugged terrain and dense vegetation took time but as of now, there are no remnants of that group here,” he added.

Asked about the necessity to shut down the telecommunication facilities in Uri, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar said “it was done in order to ensure that the infiltrators could not stay in touch with their handlers in Pakistan”.

Kumar said the recoveries indicate that “there is a new trend of Pakistan sending more pistols to Kashmir so that the ‘hybrid terrorists’ can easily carry out their tasks and slip back into normal life”.

“We have seized 97 pistols this year… pistols are easy to transport and hide. The hybrid terrorists carry out the one or two tasks given to them and go back to their normal life. If you see, in 85 percent of the attacks, pistols were used and all policemen targeted were unarmed,” he added. (With PTI inputs)

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