Srinagar, Sep 13: Three militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit were killed and 12 security personnel, including three officers, injured Thursday in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, a day after they fired on a police party here and escaped, officials said.
Police said the militants of Pakistani origin had crossed the International Border (IB) in Tarnah nallah and reached Kashmir from the Dayalachak area of Kathua district in a truck.
The encounter broke out after government forces, comprising CRPF, police and Army personnel, during a cordon and search operation, zeroed in on a location near a house in the district’s Kakriyal area, and surrounded the militants Thursday afternoon, they said.
Drones and choppers were used in the operation launched on Wednesday to track the militants, all of whom were aged between 18 and 22, they said.
Twelve personnel were injured in the operation, police said.
Six CRPF personnel, including the deputy commandant and the assistant commandant, five cops, including Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohan Lal, and an Armyman were injured, they said, adding that they were admitted to the Narayana hospital in Katra.
“On 12.09.2018 at about 0805 hours, during checking by flying squad of police at Domail on highway, police party signalled a truck bearing No. JK03-1476, which was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar to stop. In the meantime, three terrorists who were on board the said truck opened fire (sic),” a police statement issued Thursday said.
Earlier, SSP (Jammu) Vivek Gupta said the cordon and search operation to track down the militants was launched in the Jhajjar-Kotli forest belt in Jammu and Reasi districts after the militants fired on the security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway Wednesday.
The militants had fled into the forest belt of which Kakriyal is a part.
One person was injured in the firing. The truck was seized, and its driver and helper were arrested, police said, adding that one AK-56 rifle, loaded magazines, one Chinese pistol and other incriminating material were recovered from the site.
The operation was launched in the villages near Katra, they said, adding that the security components of the Vaishnodevi shrine were also alerted.
A lookout notice was issued through social and mass media, they said.
Three senior superintendents of police (SSPs) of Reasi, Udhampur, Jammu, additional SP of Katra and the SDPO of Nagrota rushed to the spot after receiving information about the presence of militants in Jhajjar-Kotli, police said.
The vast area was kept under tight cordon during the night and with day break, contact was established after the militants were tracked at Kakriyal, they said.
“The exchange of fire continued till 5 pm this evening. In this encounter, all the three militants were neutralised. SDPO Nagrota, two officers of CRPF and some police and security force men were injured,” a police spokesperson said.
“It seems to be a case of fresh infiltration of yesterday (Wednesday) morning from Pakistan most likely from Hiranagar belt of International Border. These militants had come from Pakistan,” he said.
Preliminary investigation suggests that the militants belonged to the JeM. Bodies of all three have been found, he said, adding that arms and ammunition were recovered from them.
Speaking to reporters, IGP (Jammu) S D Singh Jamwal said two people transported the militants from Dayalachak in a truck.
The duo had been engaged in carrying out such acts in the past, and police were investigating their contacts in Jammu, the IG said.
During the operation, security agencies were informed by a villager that the militants had taken food and clothes and left his house on Wednesday night, a senior police official said.
Speaking to reporters, the villager said, “They came to my house at 8 pm and demanded clothes to change from their (combat) dress. They demanded food. They ate biscuits and drank water and left around 9.10 pm.”
The militants also demanded a vehicle, but “we told them, we do not have one,” the villager said, adding that they were asked to switch-off their mobile phones.
The official said the family immediately informed police after the militants left.
The CRPF, the police and the army along with personnel from other security agencies are combing the area, he said.
The official said areas and check posts along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway are on alert. More checkpoints have been created and vehicles are being searched and passengers frisked, he said.
“The Jhajjar-Kotli forest belt and adjoining areas have been put under a massive cordon,” the official said.
Traffic movement on the highway, between Nagrota and Jhajjar-Kotli, was suspended.
CANCELLATION OF TALKS: Imran ‘disappointed’ with India’s ‘arrogant’ response
Islamabad, Sep 22: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday took to Twitter to respond to India’s cancellation of the meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), calling New Delhi’s response “arrogant and negative”.
“Disappointed at the arrogant and negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” Khan tweeted adding: “However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government on Friday had called off the meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers — just a day after confirming the development.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had announced the cancellation in a strongly worded statement, saying: “It is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new Prime Minister Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office,” he said. “Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless.”
However, the reasons cited by India for cancelling the talks have raised questions as they are not recent developments. The MEA spokesperson referred to the “killing of Indian security forces” allegedly by “Pakistani entities” and Islamabad’s decision to release stamps allegedly “glorifying terrorists” as the reasons behind the cancellation of talks.
The Pakistan Foreign Office, in a statement on Friday night, pointed out that the killing of a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier took place two days prior to the Indian announcement of its agreement to hold the bilateral meeting.
“When the allegations of Pakistan’s involvement first appeared, the Pakistan Rangers clearly conveyed to BSF through official channels that Pakistan had nothing to do with it. Pakistan Rangers also extended help in efforts to locate the soldier’s body,” the Pakistan FO statement issued on Friday night.
“These facts were known to the Indian authorities and a part of the Indian media also reported that Pakistan had refuted its involvement. Yet, this motivated and malicious propaganda continued.”
Islamabad also raised the point that the postage stamps mentioned in the Indian statement were issued before the July 25 elections, following which Imran Khan assumed office as PM.
“It is unfortunate that India has not given a positive response. Indian has once again wasted an opportunity for peace,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had told the media on Friday.
“The refusal of India shows that Indian government is facing internal pressure,” he said. “It seems that India is already preparing for its elections due in the country next year,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.
He said Pakistan sincerely wants resolution of all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, with India through negotiations. Pakistan has always extended an olive branch to India for the resolution of problems and enhancing bilateral ties in an amicable manner, but New Delhi does not come out of its “internal politics”, state-run Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying.
The minister said Pakistan can only wish India to come to the negotiating table, but “we can neither pressurise anybody nor will accept the same for this purpose.” Qureshi said the world wants connectivity and promote regional trade, but India is creating problems.
He said India’s “stubbornness” is also adversely affecting future of the SAARC countries, the Radio Pakistan report said. But, Qureshi reiterated that dialogue is the only way to come to the resolution of any issue.
“We said that we want dialogue – but in a dignified manner,” he added.
Time to pay back Pak in same coin: Army Chief
New Delhi, Sep 22: Army Chief, Bipin Rawat Saturday threatened Pakistan of retaliation over the latter’s alleged involvement in the killing of a BSF soldier and policemen in Kashmir last week.
The remarks come a day after New Delhi called off a meeting scheduled for next week between its foreign minister with the Pakistani counterpart.
“We need to take stern action to avenge the barbarism that ‘terrorists’ and the Pakistan Army have been carrying out,” news agency ANI reported General Rawat saying.
“Yes, it’s time to give it back to them in the same coin, not resorting to similar kind of barbarism. But I think the other side must also feel the same pain.”
Reacting to the General Rawat, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Pakistan will continue to strive for peace, and added that the world is watching as to who wants peace and who wants war.
“We reject war mongering by ruling elite of India everyone know Indian Govt strategy is to use hate mongering against Pak basically to bail Pm Modi from call for resignation post French jets Rafael deal and divert attention of Indian public from this mega corruption scandal,” he tweeted.
Pakistan army chief spokesman Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor too reacted to Gen Rawat’s remarks saying that India was trying to divert attention from domestic problem by calling off talks with Pakistan and resorting to baseless propaganda.
“Pakistan army is a professional institution. It is part of army’s professional code of conduct. No Pakistani troop was involved in mutilation of Indian soldier,” Ghafoor was quoted saying by Pakistan media.
To a question, DG ISPR said that India “should not get into war mongering as a ruse to deflect international challenges.”
“We need to maintain peace in the region and it should not be misconstrued as our weakness. India should not retort to war mongering,” he said.
Massive cordon-and-search ops in Pulwama
Srinagar, Sep 22: Government forces Saturday launched a massive cordon and search operation in about a dozen villages in Pulwama.
The operation was carried out by 55-Rashtriya Rifles, 53 RR, 23 Para, Special Operation Group (SOG) and CRPF’s 182, 183 battalions.
Launched during wee hours, the CASO saw forces conducting house to house searches in the villages, reports said.
The search operations were conducted in villages Lassipora, Armula, Alaipora, Batnoor, Garbug, Naupora Paeen, Hajdar Pora, Acchan and many others.
It was not immediately known if the operation launched to flush out any militants or whether it was purely an ‘area domination’ exercise.
Meanwhile, the residents of a village in Shopian district on Saturday clashed with the government forces after they launched a cordon-and-search-operation in the area.
Reports said that the government forces laid a siege around the Shirmal village early Saturday morning.
As the forces started door-to-door searches, scores of residents came out of their homes and pelted them with stones to disrupt the operation.
The forces, according to reports, fired tear gas to quell the protests.
Saturday’s CASOs was launched a day after suspected militants abducted and killed three cops in Shopian.
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