Poonch: Army likely to initiate action against officers

JAMMU: Indian Army is likely to initiate action against a brigadier and three other officers based in Poonch.

Police have lodged a First Information Report (FIR) in the matter. The army has also ordered a court of inquiry and planning to launch disciplinary action against the officers.

A newspaper report quoting officials said a brigadier-level officer has been removed from the unit along with three other senior army officers following the death of three civilians and injuries to about 10 others.

However, no official information was shared by the Army.

The Army has also ordered a thorough internal investigation into the deaths of three civilians.

Army on Saturday said it stands committed to extending “full support and cooperation” in the conduct of the investigation. The civil administration has already announced compensation and compassionate appointment for the next of kin of the deceased.

Meanwhile, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande is visiting Jammu to assess security in the aftermath of the Dera Ki Gali encounter in the Poonch district.

Gen Pande will visit the site of Thursday’s terror attack at Dera Ki Gali where Army personnel including para commandos, paramilitary forces, and police continued massive search and cordon operations for a fourth consecutive day today to track down three to four terrorists involved in the attack.

The Army Headquarters is regularly monitoring the situation in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch where nearly 30 terrorists are stated to be hiding in the hills, natural caves, and forests.

As per the sources, the Army chief is expected to review the situation at Nagrota Corps Headquarters with top Army Commanders to intensify operations to eliminate the terrorists. Nagrota Corps Commander Lt Gen Sandeep Jain is handing over the charge of the Corps to Lt Gen Naveen Sachdev shortly.

The Army is likely to give charge to officers who have dealt with situations in areas where the terrorists on the troops have carried out multiple attacks. This was the fourth major attack/encounter in Rajouri and Poonch districts this year in which 19 soldiers have sacrificed their lives though a large number of terrorists have also been killed, both on the Line of Control (LoC) as well as hinterland.

Sources said a team from the Defence Ministry is also likely to visit the Rajouri and Poonch districts in the next few days to assess the ground situation and take steps to address the recent increase in terror activities.

Sources said massive search and cordon operations continued in upper reaches, forests, and other vulnerable areas of Rajouri and Poonch districts to track down the hiding militants. The Army, its para commandos, paramilitary forces, and police are involved in the search operations. Local people are also assisting the troops.

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