Civilian dies as forces open fire on stone-pelting protesters

Civilian dies as forces open fire on stone-pelting protesters

Three soldiers, two militants killed in Kupwara fidayeen attack

Civilian dies as forces open fire on stone-pelting protesters

A civilian was killed and over 10 others injured on Thursday when security forces opened fire on stone-pelting protesters in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, who were demanding the bodies of the militants killed in the fidayeen attack be returned to their families.

SSP Kupwara Shamsher Hussain said that security forces opened fire on a mob demanding the mortal remains of two militants killed in the fidayeen attack on an army camp in Panzgam.

Earlier, three soldiers, including an officer, and two unidentified fidayeen (suicide) militants were killed while five troopers were injured, when ultras launched a pre-dawn attack on an army installation in Panzgam, Kupwara.

Sources said that atleast three heavily armed fidayeen militants attacked the Army’s 155 Field Regiment in Panzgam, Kupwara close to the heavily militarized Line of Control (LoC) at around 4.30 am.

“The fidayeen taking advantage of darkness and cut through the two-layered barbed wire fencing of the firing range of the camp, after which they lobbed hand grenades and fired indiscriminately. The quick reaction team (QRT) of the Army reached the spot immediately and confronted the fidayeen,” they said.

Defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said the militants used guns and grenades to target soldiers. "They (fidayeen) tried to force their entry into the camp which was foiled" he said adding that Army lost a captain and two other soldiers. “Two militants were also killed in the gunfight,” he added.

Sources said the slain militants were Pakistanis and belonged to banned Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit. The dead soldiers have been identified as 26-year-old Captain Ayush Yadav from Kanpur, Subedar Bhoop Singh from Rajasthan and Naik B.V. Ramanna from Visakhapatnam.

The five soldiers, who were also injured in the gun battle, were shifted to Army’s Base hospital in Srinagar.  It was not known how the terrorists managed to reach the highly-fortified premises, but sources didn’t rule out that fidayeen might have infiltrated from across the LoC the previous night.

They said one to two fidayeen managed to escape from the encounter spot under the cover of darkness. The Army has launched a manhunt in the vicinity to nab the fidayeen who escaped, sources added.

Three AK-47 series rifles, nine magazines, 156 rounds of AK-47, one Chinese pistol, one pistol magazine, one UBGL and three grenades, three matrix sheets, two GPS, one smartphone and one radio set were recovered from the possession of the slain militants.

Earlier on September 18 last year in a similar attack, four fidayeen militants of Jaish-e-Muhammad had stormed Brigade headquarters near the LoC in Uri sector of north Kashmir killing 19 soldiers besides wounding 18 others. 11-days later, Indian commandos in retaliation to Uri attack carried surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

While no militant organization had so far claimed responsibility for the latest attack, police sources said, Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan-based terror outfit led by Masood Azhar, is believed to be the prime suspect. India has been making attempts to declare Azhar as an international terrorist by the UN. However, Indian attempts have been so far thwarted by China.