NEW DELHI, Feb 12: Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the terrorists who attacked the Army camp in Jammu’s Sunjuwan had handlers across the border and asserted that Pakistan will “pay for this misadventure”.
Addressing a press conference shortly after meeting Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti, Sitharaman said the terrorists belonged to a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) module and possibly had support from some locals as well.
“Terrorists belonged to JeM, sponsored by Masood Azhar residing in Pakistan and deriving support from therein. There is a possibility that they enjoyed local support, though they were controlled by their handlers from across the border,” Sitharaman said. Six persons, including five soldiers and a civilian, were killed and 10 others were injured during the terror attack. Three terrorists of the JeM outfit, wearing army fatigues, were gunned down during the counter-operation.
Sitharaman said Pakistan was expanding the arc of terror beyond the Pir Panjal range and resorting to ceasefire violations to abet infiltration of terrorists into the Indian side of the border. She assured that the government will continue to thwart Pakistan sponsored terror and a counter-terrorism plan has already been put into action.
“Giving the evidence to Pakistan will be a continuous process. It will have to be proved over and over again that they are responsible. Pakistan will have to pay for this misadventure,” she declared.
The defence minister said the counter-terrorist ops in Sunjuwan was called off at 10.30 am today, however, sanitisation operation is still underway. On the reports of the presence of four terrorists, Sitharaman said investigators surmised that the fourth must have been a guide and may not have entered the Camp area.
Earlier in the day, the defence minister visited those injured in the terror strike on the Army’s Sunjuwan camp at a Military hospital in Jammu while the clearing operation at the attack site was on. Anti-terror operation inside Sunjuwan army camp had been continuing for last three days after a group of heavily armed terrorists stormed the base on the outskirts of Jammu city. Ultras managed to enter Junior Commissioned Officers quarters inside camp while everyone was asleep.
When asked about the filing of an FIR against an Army officer involved in the Shopian firing, Sitharaman said the government must stand by the Army. “Supreme Court has given a 15 day stay on the FIR itself. We’ll have to see how it goes. We have to stand by our proud soldiers and Army and in the call of duty if they have performed something it has to be contextualized,” she said.