3 Pak militants of JeM killed in day-long gun battle; Major, DySP among 12 injured

Security personnel stand around the body of slain militant at village Dirthi in Kakryal area on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Security personnel stand around the body of slain militant at village Dirthi in Kakryal area on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Case set to go to NIA as 20-22 ultras shifted to Valley

Terrorists were in search of GPS-enabled mobile, food

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Sept 13: All three Pakistani militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit, who had been intercepted at Jhajjar Kotli yesterday morning after infiltration from Pakistan through the International Border between Hiranagar and Samba sector, were eliminated in a joint successful operation conducted by Army, CRPF and police today at village Dirthi in Kakryal area of Katra. Twelve security personnel including an Army Major, a Deputy Superint-endent of Police and a Deputy Commandant of CRPF were injured in the day-long operation.
Meanwhile, in view of sensational disclosures made by two close associates of militants arrested yesterday at Jhajjar Kotli when they were transporting three Pakistani militants to Kashmir, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to hand over the case to the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to investigate entire nexus of infiltration of militants and shifting them to the Valley amid reports that during last just one year, 20 to 22 terrorists had been transported from Jammu to the Valley by the arrested duo.

Click here to watch video
“An NIA team interacted with Jammu Police today to ascertain disclosures made by BSc Nursing student Mohammad Iqbal of Pakhar-pora, Budgam and Riaz Ahmad of Hajin, Pulwama, driver-cum-owner of truck. They jointly investigated the infiltration route used by the militants from Bein Nullah between Samba and Hiranagar sector before boarding the truck on way to Kashmir,” official sources told the Excelsior but said the NIA will formally take over the case after a notification is issued by the MHA.
Mohammad Ashiq, brother of Riaz Ahmad, who had to receive the militants in Pulwama, was absconding, sources said, adding he was important conduit of the JeM outfit.
At about 9 am today, all three militants, who had last night changed clothes and took biscuits and water in the house of Isher Dass Khajuria at Jhajjar Kotli, appeared in the house of Raj Kumar at village Dirthi in Kakryal area of Katra, gave Rs 2,000 to the family and asked for food.

Troops in action during the gun battle at Dirthi, Kakryal on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Troops in action during the gun battle at Dirthi, Kakryal on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Raj Kumar along with his two sons left for the market while his wife went to take vegetables from the field with a view to dodge the militants. At about 10.55 am, Raj Kumar after moving quite a distance away from the house, rang up his sister at Jhajjar Kotli and narrated presence of the militants. The women immediately sounded security agencies.
Within minutes, Army, CRPF and police, who had already launched manhunt for the militants, cordoned off village Dirthi in Kakryal and surrounded the militants.
The civilian population was very slowly and tactfully evicted from the village while entire vehicular movement was suspended. A contact was established with the militants around 12 noon after which fierce gun-fighting ensued as the militants were in possession of AK rifles, pistols and grenades.
Two militants were killed during first two hours of gunfight while the third one slipped away from Dirthi and moved around kilometer away targeting security forces. He was finally eliminated in the evening. The entire operation was over before the dusk.
Twelve security personnel were injured during the day long operation.
They have been identified as Major Deepak Upadhyaya, DySP Nagrota Mohan Sharma, DySP Manoj Kumar Yadav of 187 battalion CRPF, ASP Harshpal Singh, Zakar Hussain, Pancham Singh and Abhay Singh, all from CRPF, Yashpal Singh, Mohammad Iqbal and Bhanu Partap Singh, all from police, Rajinder Singh and Sudhir Kumar, both from Army. Condition of all the injured was stated to be stable and they were responding to the treatment. All the injured were leading the gun battle against the militants right from the front.
Sources said the militants were in possession of Indian currency. They gave Rs 2000 to Raj Kumar and were ready to give more money for purchasing GPS enabled mobile telephone. They had asked one of the civilians to take them to a religion place but were told by them that there was no such place in the village.
Troops from 4 and 9 Paras, CRPF and police carried out the joint search operation.
Bodies of all three militants have been recovered from the spot and shifted to hospital after detecting that they were not carrying any explosive device. Security forces have recovered three AK rifles, pistols, ammunition, live grenades and some other goods from the possession of slain militants. The villages were being sanitized to ensure that the militant haven’t planted any explosive devices there. Vehicular movement on Jammu-Udhampur road will be restored tomorrow morning. It remained diverted from Nagrota to Surinsar road for the last two days in view of presence of the militants. Schools also remained closed in parts of Jhajjar Kotli and Nagrota today.
Briefing media persons, GOC Reasi Maj Gen Arvind Bhatia said: “it seems that the militants were headed towards Kashmir and they had no target in Jammu. They travelled up to Jhajjar Kotli where they were intercepted after infiltrating between Samba and Bobiya. Enroute, there were many security installations but they didn’t target them. They were headed for Kashmir”.
Asserting that militant had no support base or network here, Maj Gen Bhatia said they had their main headquarter in Kashmir and they were heading there to carry out some major strike. He said this route had earlier also been used for infiltration and it was in view of this that smart fencing and modernized gadgetry are being installed on the border.
“We will identify the places where fencing might have been damaged during Monsoon on LoC and IB to control the infiltration,” he said.
The GOC said the two conduits of militants arrested yesterday were very active on this route and had taken 20-22 terrorists to the Valley in just one year.
Maj Gen Bhatia said the grown up grass and crops and civilian population in the village were major challenges during gun battle with the militants but security forces with great synergy executed the operation very well and eliminated all three militants within a day of establishing contact with them.
Asserting that the militants were well-trained, the Army officer admitted that there were technical inputs of infiltration though 200 to 250 militants always camp at the launch pads waiting for infiltration.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Zone, Dr SD Singh Jamwal told media persons that the civilians were very tactfully evicted before launching final assault on the militants to ensure that there was no loss of live. He said all security agencies including police, CRPF and Army executed the task in great coordination.
Jamwal said the militants belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit and had infiltrated from Samba sector. The infiltration route has been identified and if some persons would have helped the militants, they too would be arrested.
He added that three weapons, pistols and grenades have been recovered from the slain militants and sanitization operations were on.
Identity of slain militants hasn’t been established so far but they were Pakistani nationals.
Meanwhile, National Conference MLA from Nagrota and party’s provincial president, Devender Singh Rana today visited Narayana Hospital at Kakryal and inquired condition of the security personnel, injured in encounter with the terrorists. Rana inquired health status of the injured and also inter-acted with some of the brave jawans. He lauded valour of security forces in meeting challenge posed by terrorists. He complimented the people for cooperating with the security personnel.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh has complimented the role of police, CRPF, Army and general public of the area, who cooperated with operational parties leading to successful culmination of the operation and averted but could have been major catastrophe. He wished speedy recovery to officers and jawans of police and security forces injured in the operation.
IGP Jammu, Dr SD Singh Jamwal, DIG Jammu range Bhim Sen Tooty, SSP Jammu Vivek Gupta, SP Rural Dushyant Sharma and Additional SP Katra Naresh Singh supervised the operation among others.