Army calls off operation in Keran sector

More than two weeks after dozens of Pakistani militants infiltrated across the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of Kupwara district in north Kashmir, the Army on Tuesday said that it had called off concerted search operations in the area.

The Army had launched a massive anti-infiltration operation in Shalabatoo village in Keran sector on September 24 after noticing a group of 30 to 40 militants trying to sneak into the Valley.

Addressing a press conference here, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (CIC) of Northern Command Lieutenant General Sanjiv Chachra said: “I have given the direction to call off concerted search but our counter-insurgency deployment is being strengthened. We are launching operations which are intelligence based, which are surveillance based, so that we can eliminate and meet the challenges.”

He said terrorists made desperate attempts at infiltration in the Keran sector in the last 10 to 14 days at multiple points. “We had specific intelligence of their operation and knew they were coming. We were prepared for it. Some of these infiltration attempts have been eliminated and some of them have been foiled,” he added.

The CIC said they killed eight terrorists and seized 59 weapons, including 18 AK-rifles and war like stores, during the operation. “There were 30 to 40 militants in the infiltrating column at Shalabatoo. We carried out a number of searches in that area and adjacent areas. We have found eight bodies,” he said.

Asked about the fate of the rest of the militants, Gen  Chachra  said: “Some of them (bodies) might have been dragged back. Some of them were used in other subsequent operations in neighbouring areas.”

He rejected media reports that any Indian posts were occupied during the infiltration and asserted that the sanctity of the LoC would be maintained at any cost.

The CIC said infiltration attempts from across the LoC would continue till winter . “The infiltration attempts will continue till winter sets in. Only last night did we have an infiltration bid in a neighbouring area,” he said.

Gen  Chachra  said militants were making desperate attempts to infiltrate into Kashmir due to their dwindling numbers in the Valley. “They (militants) want to reinforce their numbers before the winter sets in,” he added.

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