Major, three soldiers killed along LoC

Major, three soldiers killed along LoC

At least two militants were gunned down in the operation

The encounter between the Army's patrolling party and the infiltrating group took place at Govind Nallah in Gurez sector of Bandipore district. (PTI file photo)

An army Major, three soldiers and two militants were killed in a gunfight along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Gurez sector of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Tuesday as the security forces foiled a major infiltration bid.

Sources said on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, the army noticed the movement of six to eight heavily armed militants, who were trying to infiltrate into Indian territory under the cover of darkness.

“As the troops challenged the infiltrators, they opened fire and tried to hide in nearby forests. The army tightened the cordon around the area and in the morning a massive search operation was launched and contact was established with the hiding militants," they said.

A defence spokesman confirmed the deaths of a Major and three soldiers in the gunfight, which he said broke out after the army foiled an infiltration bid in Gurez. The slain army men are Major K P Rane, Havaldar Jamie Singh, Havaldar Vikramjeet and rifleman Mandeep of 36 Rashtriya Rifles.

The spokesman said two militants were also killed in the operation.

Sources said the encounter broke out at Govind Nallah in the Gurez sector after a group of eight to 10 militants were trying to infiltrate into the Indian side of the LoC. Of them, some ran back to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, after an initial round of firing, they added.

Additional reinforcement from other army units have been rushed to the area and a vast forest area has been cordoned off.

A senior army officer said the deployment of additional troops on the LoC along the traditional infiltration routes in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Kupwara districts since last year has forced the militants to infiltrate from new routes.

“With additional troops, the army has placed ambush parties at new locations and places which militants and their guides don't know till they are trapped. It has helped in bringing down infiltration levels," the officer said. Pakistan is now trying to push the militants through the Gurez area which is jointly guarded by the army and the Border Security Force, the officer added.

Earlier, Senior Superintendent of Police Bandipora, Zulfikar Ahmad, said that firing started around 1 am.

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