Kupwara, February 13
Indian Army suffered first casualties this year when two of their men were killed in a fierce gun battle with militants in Marsari Chowkibal area of frontier district Kupwara. Five militants were also killed during the encounter taking the death toll of the militants to 15 this year.
The gunfight between militants and Indian troopers had raged on Friday evening after Indian Army personnel from 41 Rashtriya Rifles, 16 Garhwal and the police’s special operation group surrounded a house on information that a group of militants were hiding there.
A police official said that operation was suspended for the night after the area was completely sealed to foil all bids of the militants to escape from the area. “The contact was again established during wee hours. In the ensuing gunfight four Army soldiers including an officer were injured among which two soldiers succumbed to their injuries. All the four militants were neutralized during the gunfight,” he said.
Sources added that the militants were hiding in an abandoned house of one Ghulam Muhammad Wani that was blasted and razed to ground by the Indian troopers.
Giving details SP Kupwara said that the operation was launched after receiving inputs about the presence of the militants in the area. “The operation was launched on Friday evening that culminate on Saturday afternoon. There was heavy exchange of fire. Till afternoon we had retrieved four bodies of the militants while one hour later the body of another militant was recovered from the basement of the house,” SP Ajaz Ahmed said.
He added that five AK 47 rifles and 25 magazines were also recovered from the slain militants. “The slain militants were wearing snow white dresses and they were carrying an ice-axe along with them. It seems the group might have recently infiltrated into this part while preliminary investigation has revealed that they belong to militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad,” the police officer said and identified the slain Army men as Naik Shinde Shankar Chandrabhan and Gunner Sahadev Maruti Moray.