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Police release sketches of 6 terrorists involved in Basantgarh encounter

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Jammu: Police on Saturday released the sketches of six terrorists, “who infiltrated from Pakistan into Basantgarh area of Udhampur district and killed a village defence guard in a gunfight before fleeing deep into the forest”, officials said.

Udhampur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Joginder Singh announced the first breakthrough in the case with the arrest of an overground worker, who had provided logistic support to the terrorists.

Singh said the sketches of the six terrorists, two of whom are believed to be brothers, were prepared based on the inputs from various agencies, the public and questioning of the suspected persons.

“We hope the people will come forward and help the security agencies to neutralize the terrorists. Anyone with credible information leading to neutralization of each terrorist will be given a reward ranging from Rs five lakh to Rs 10 lakh,” the officer told reporters in Udhampur.

Village Defence Guard (VDG) Mohammad Sharief was killed in an encounter with the terrorists following a cordon and search operation in Panara village of Basantgarh on April 28.

A massive joint search operation by the army, police and paramilitary forces is going on in the area to flush out the terrorists, who are believed to have crossed into Udhampur from nearby Kathua district after successfully infiltrating from across the border.

The SSP said at least 12 terrorists are believed to have infiltrated into the area and added “It is our collective responsibility to make it once again the abode of peace by neutralizing them”.

“The area has remained peaceful for a very long time and our enemy wants to disturb it. But we will frustrate their designs with the cooperation of the people and will ensure a peaceful atmosphere,” he said.

Singh identified the arrested accused as Javed, a resident of Loha-Nathi village of Kathua, and said that he had provided logistic support to the terrorists.

“He is the first person arrested in the case so far and his questioning is still at preliminary stages,” Singh said, adding the police has gained some credible information about the movement of suspects and had likewise zeroed in on a few “unscrupulous elements”.

The sketchy description of the terrorists, aged between 20 and 42 years, revealed that they are equipped with AK assault rifles, US-made M4 carbine and pistols.

The SSP said the identities of the terrorists are not known yet.

“There is no credible information suggesting that they are locals. All our agencies, including the army, police, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies are working hard with the active support of the locals to deal with them,” he said.

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