A soldier frisks a motorist along a street in Srinagar on Friday.( AFP)
Two soldiers from Uttarakhand were killed in a confrontation with terrorists in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), while a non-commissioned officer (JCO) went missing, increasing the number of soldiers killed in counter-terrorism operations in the region. That's what the army said on Friday.
Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand said the two soldiers - Vikram Singh Negi, 26, and Yogambar Singh, 26 - were killed during a search and impeachment operation in the forest area from Nar Khas to Poonchs Mendhar on Thursday evening.
“During the operation, there was heavy exchange of fire and in the ensuing gunfight, Rifleman Vikram Singh Negi and Rifleman Yogambar Singh were critically injured and later succumbed to their injuries,” he said.
“(The two)...displayed exemplary courage, devotion and made the supreme sacrifice in (the) line of duty. The nation will always remain indebted to these brave hearts for their supreme sacrifice for the nation.”
Negi was from Viman Gaon Village, Narendra Nagar, Tehri Garhwal District, Uttarakhand, while Singh was from Sankari Village, Chamoli District of the state.
An army official said, on condition of anonymity, that the JCO was initially considered dead but then disappeared.
Attempts are being made to locate him, the official added.
On October 11, five soldiers, including a JCO, were killed in a clash in Dera Ki Gali, Surankote region, Poonch district.
The victims of the clashes were the worst for security forces fighting this year's riots in Jammu and Kashmir after seven civilians were killed in a series of targeted attacks in the area.
A second Army officer said the terrorists involved in the Nar Khas shooting were likely part of the same group that attended the October 11 meeting.
The army began a search in a wooded area between the mountainous border districts of Rajouri and Poonch. The area is dangerous, which makes the operation difficult and dangerous, an official said.
A Third Army officer said the loss of seven soldiers in four days shows that infiltration attempts are underway and some have been successful.
The official said that infiltration attempts usually increase in October, just before the onset of winter, and roads are closed due to heavy snowfall.
J&K Police Chief Dilbag Singh said in August that the infiltration resumed after a brief hiatus in February following a renewed ceasefire agreement between Directors General for Military Operations (DGMO) from India and Pakistan. However, he added that the terrorist camps across the border had remained intact.
The DGMOs announced on February 25th that the two countries had agreed to strictly adhere to the ceasefire along the LoC.
J&K police said terrorists involved in the October 11 attacks on security forces in Poonch had been in the area for two or three months.
Sources:- Hindustan times
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