3 infiltrators killed hours before polling

3 infiltrators killed hours before polling

Just hours before polling began for the second phase of the Assembly elections in 18 constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir, three unidentified militants were killed in an encounter with security forces along the Line of Control (LoC) in poll-bound Kupwara district on Tuesday.

An Army official told Deccan Herald that troops guarding the LoC noticed a group of five to six heavily-armed ultras attempting infiltration from across the border in the Nowgam sector of Handwara, 80 km from here, in the early hours of Tuesday.

“Even though the infiltrators were challenged, they indiscriminately fired at troops, triggering a fierce encounter. Three unidentified militants were killed in the encounter so far,” the official said, adding that the operation was still underway.Two to three militants were still holed up in the nearby forest area and the Army had called for reinforcements to flush them out, sources said. 

“Militants had made an attempt to infiltrate on polling day, thinking security forces would be busy with elections. The Army had been alerted along the LoC, particularly in Kupwara district, to keep strict vigil on any movement of militants, who could try to sabotage the elections after the successful conduct of the first phase in 15 Assembly constituencies,” they said.

“Hundreds of militants are waiting on launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to infiltrate the border before the higher reaches are closed due to heavy snowfall,” the sources added.

A few hours after the gun-battle, people of five constituencies in the border district of Kupwara, which shares a 248-km border with PoK, went to polls. The infiltration bid comes a day after Army Chief General Dalbir Singh visited forward posts along the LoC in Langate and Macchil sectors to review the security situation there.

Last week, four militants were killed when an encounter broke out between the ultras and security forces in the Arnia sector of the Jammu region close to the Indo-Pak border on November 27. 

During the attack, 11 people, including three soldiers, four militants and four ultras, were killed.

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