After a lull of several hours, security forces on Tuesday evening established contact with terrorists hiding in the dense forest of the Chmaraid area between the Dera K Gali and Surankote. Throughout the day, forces further tightened the cordon of the area to foil any attempt of the terrorists to sneak into south Kashmir's Shopian district.
After attacking troops on Monday morning, terrorists reportedly ran away deep into the dense forest taking advantage of the difficult terrain and the topography. Five soldiers including one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) were killed in one of the worst terror attacks on Monday in the hinterland of twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Poonch-Rajouri range Vivek Gupta said that contact was established with the hiding terrorists but there is no further progress.
"Contact with the terrorists was established but they managed to slip away during a heavy exchange of firing," reports said, adding that the terrorists will not be able to escape for a long time due to deployment of heavy force.
Terrorists were present in area for last three months
Amid conflicting reports that terrorists involved in killing five soldiers have recently infiltrated from the Line of Control (LoC) DIG, Vivek Gupta said there is a possibility that terrorists may present in the area for the last two to three months. "Due to the topography of the area, it is difficult to predict how many terrorists are hiding in the forest", he said.
Reports said that the encounter site is quite far from the LoC so there are fewer chances that the terrorists could be part of the freshly infiltrated group.
"It appeared that the terrorists were hiding in the forests for past quite some time and might have set up their hideout in the forests," reports said but added that the things would be clear only when the terrorists are killed, and troops destroy their hideout.
Army pays rich tributes to fallen soldiers
In a solemn ceremony held at Rajouri, rich tributes were paid to the fallen soldiers who laid down their lives during the conduct of counter-terrorist operation in the general area Thanamandi on 11 October 2021. Wreaths were laid by senior Army officers and civil dignitaries.
"The mortal remains of Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and four soldiers belonging to different parts of the country will be moved to their respective hometown. Indian Army salutes the sacrifices of its soldiers who laid down their lives in the service of the motherland", Defence spokesperson Col Devender Anand said.
- Earlier on August 19, a terrorist, who had managed to infiltrate into this side of the border, was killed during an encounter in the Thanamandi area of the Rajouri district. A soldier had also lost life in the fierce encounter.
- The Indian Army on August 30 had foiled an infiltration attempt from across the border and killed two terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district. Ammunition and two AK-47 rifles were also recovered from the area where two terrorists were killed by the forces.
- On August 6, security forces killed two terrorists in the Pangai area of Thanamandi, and on August 10, Jammu and Kashmir Police identified one of the two slain terrorists as Ramees Ahmad Tantray of Ramnagri in Shopian district.
In the past few weeks, several encounters have taken place in the Rajouri sector especially in Nowshera, Sunderbani, and Thanamandi.
There have been many encounters in Rajouri and Poonch districts this year but troops had succeeded in neutralizing the terrorists mostly on the LoC or close to the site of infiltration.
Three terrorists were killed in Sunderbani and one in the Nowshera sectors of the Rajouri district. In Sunderbani, two soldiers were also killed while in Nowshera one jawan was injured. Before that, one terrorist was killed in Kalakote.
Most of the infiltration attempts by the terrorists on the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts are aimed at reaching South Kashmir via Pir Panjal mountains or Mughal Road.