The Pir Panjal range of Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing the deadliest ever encounter of the past one and a half decade in which the army has suffered nine fatal casualties yet with no trace of militants so far.
The encounter started during the intervening night of October 10 and 11 in Chamrer forest area near Dehra Ki Gali tourist site in which five army personnel, including one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), were killed during the exchange of gunfire between the militants and army teams.
The anti-militancy operation and combing operation, still going on in the area, entered its seventh day on Sunday. Meanwhile a similar anti-militancy operation started in Bhata Dhurian village of Mendhar on Thursday afternoon.
The Nar Khas forest area of village Bhata Dhurian is the same forest-cover that runs up to Chamrer forest area where the encounter took place on Monday morning. In this encounter, the army suffered four casualties.
Among these nine fatalities, five army personnel, including a JCO, were killed in Chamrer forest area near Dehra Ki Gali tourism point which is located near Mughal road while four army personnel including one Junior Commissioned Officer were killed in Bhata Dhurian encounter along Jammu Rajouri Poonch National Highway.
Out of four army personnel, who were killed in Bhata Dhurian, the bodies of two soldiers, who went missing on Thursday when the fire-fight broke, were recovered on Saturday evening.
Officials said that over ten encounters took place in hinterland areas of Rajouri and Poonch districts in the last one and a half decade in which forces did suffer fatal losses. “But the loss suffered in this encounter is the highest ever during this period,” they added. They said that tough topographic conditions, hilly terrain and dense forest cover were making the operation very difficult.
The army on the other hand had identified all nine army personnel who lost their lives in this encounter so far.
The five army personnel who were killed in firing in Chamrer forest area on Monday morning were identified as Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh of village Mana Talwandi of Kapurthala in Punjab, Naik Mandeep Singh of village Chalha Gurdaspur in Punjab, Sepoy Gajjan Singh of village Panchranda Ropar in Punjab, Sepoy Saraj Singh of Shahjahanpur of Uttar Pradesh and Sepoy Vaisakh H of village Odanavattom Kollam in Kerala. On the other hand, four army personnel who lost their lives in ongoing encounter in Bhata Dhurian village were identified as Subedar Ajay Singh of Tehri Uttrakhand, Naik Harendra Singh of Pauri Uttrakhand, Rifleman Vikram Singh Negi of village Viman Gaon in Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand and Rifleman Yogambar Singh, resident of village Sankari Chamoli in Uttrakhand.