As search operation in dense forests of Pir Panjal mountains entered Day 8 today with success against militants remaining elusive, Army chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane reached here this afternoon on a two-day visit of the region and reviewed the situation along Line of Control (LoC) and hinterland with particular reference to the ongoing operations with top Army Commanders and later toured forward areas in the border district of Rajouri.
After a high-level review of the situation, the Chief of Army Staff visited several forward areas on the LoC in the Rajouri district. He met the Field Commanders and the troops guarding frontiers with Pakistan.
Troops have been maintaining very high alert along LoC in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, especially after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. However, no major infiltration attempt has been detected during the past few days.
However, there were reports that the militant group operating in Bhatta Durian forests in Mendhar, which initially struck at Chamber forests of Surankote, bordering Shanghai area of Thannamandi in Rajouri district, had infiltrated about two to three months back from the LoC and had lost track to Shopian in South Kashmir where they intended to reach through Pir Panjal mountains.
Security forces had been searching for them in different forest areas for the past several days. Finally, however, the contact was established on October 11, in which five Army jawans, including one JCO, were martyred. During further searches, the connection was selected for the second time at Bhatta Durian forests on October 14, in which four more soldiers were martyred.
Search operations today entered into the eighth day in Bhatta Durian forests. Though Army fired heavily, aiming the directions where the militants could be hiding, sources said, direct contact with the militants hasn’t been established since October 14.
Meanwhile, police detained six more persons to provide food and shelter to the militants in Bhatta Durian. They have been identified as Mohammad Mahroof, son of Bhag Hussain and Abdul Hamid, son of Furqan, both residents of Sangiot, Mir Hussain, son of Dost Mohammad of village Chandial, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Mushtaq and Khurshid Mohammad, all residents of Bhatta Durian.
With six more detentions, the total number of civilians detained for providing shelter and food to the militants has gone up to eight.