Three army men and a woman were killed while five army personnel were injured in a militant attack on wee hours of Thursday in Shopian district of South Kashmir.
The attack took place in Mulu Chitragam area of Shopian around 60 kms from Srinagar, when militants ambushed a patrolling party of 44-RR at around 2:00 am, when they were returning from cordon and search operation in a nearby village Kungnoo.
The party was returning without any arrest or recovery from Kungnoo, when militants opened fire at the government forces in Chitragam village.
Even though extra contingents of forces were rushed to spot, but militants managed to flee from the spot, after inflicting heavy loses on the government forces.
In the exchange of fire, according to initial reports, a bullet hit a local resident, Taja Begum, who was inside her house and she died.
The army personnel killed in the attack have been identified as Sreejit MJ, Vikas Kumar and Ghulam Muhammad Rather, while the injured include Lt Col Mukesh Jha, Major Amardeep Singh, Surendra Kumar, Sumer Singh and Ajay Pal.
“While returning from Kungnoo, the CASO party was attacked by unknown militants at Mulu Chitragam at about 2 am resulting in injuries to six army personnel including two officers of whom three succumbed to their injuries,” read the official statement of police.
Former chief minister and opposition National Conference leader in response to the incident tweeted, “Tragic news & deeply worrying situation in the valley. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.”
Militancy is on a steep rise in Kashmir, especially after the killing of Hizb ul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani along with his two colleagues on July 8 last year.
According to official figures, 29 Armymen and 22 militants have been killed in first two months of this year, till now. The police figures claim that around 100 locals have joined militant ranks in last year and 59 of them joined after Wani was killed. More than 60 weapons have been snatched from police and other government forces in 2016.
“South Kashmir as whole is a major concern for us as for as militancy is concerned. However, Pulwama and Shopian area a major concern as we have both militancy and law and order problem here,” a senior police official told ET.
The counter militancy operations had completed stopped during five months of street protests, but resumed and are continuing at fast pace, as protests subsided since November last year.
J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has urged J&K police to persuade local militants for surrender and manage their reentry into mainstream of development. Police claims that they were successful in persuading few militants for surrender. However the militants alleged that the government was harassing their families under the garb of surrender policy. Local Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant, Zakir, in a video message, warned police of dire consequences, if latter continue to harass families of militants.
Source: Economic Times