3 soldiers, 2 Pak intruders killed in LoC gunbattle

Martyred, injured jawans hail from Jammu
High alert sounded in Rajouri, Poonch

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Oct 21: Three Army soldiers and two infiltrating militants were killed and another jawan was seriously injured in a gunbattle on the Line of Control (LoC) at Keri Bhattal on Akhnoor-Sunderbani border in Rajouri district this afternoon after which a high alert has been sounded on entire stretch of the LoC in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri.
All three Army jawans martyred in the gunbattle and an injured hailed from Jammu region as they were part of the JAK Li.
Sources told the Excelsior that slain infiltrators appeared to be members of Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) and their number was believed to be more than two. However, after the killing of their two associates, rest of the militants seemed to have retreated to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Army observed movement of the infiltrators in forward area of Lalyali near Keri Bhattal along the LoC on the border between Khour and Sunderbani sector at 1.45 pm today. The infiltrators had taken positions at an advantage site from where they targeted the troops, leading to three fatal casualties of the Army and injuries to another soldier.
Two infiltrators were eliminated in retaliation by the troops while others appeared to have retreated.
Additional reinforcement of troops immediately rushed to the spot and launched a search operation along the LoC. The Army personnel hit with bullets were evacuated from the site of encounter and shifted to the Military Hospital. Three Army jawans attained martyrdom while another was admitted in the Military Hospital.
The martyrs have been identified as Havaldar Kaushal Kumar, resident of village Deeng in Nowshera tehsil of Rajouri district in Jammu, Lance Naik Ranjit Singh, resident of village Gam, Doda in Jammu and Rifleman Rajat Kumar Basan, resident of Pallanwalla in Akhnoor tehsil of Jammu.
Havaldar Kaushal Kumar is survived by his wife Naresh Kumari, Lance Naik Ranjeet Singh by his wife Shimu Devi and Rifleman Basan by his father Rattan Lal.
Injured jawan has been identified as Rifleman Rakesh Kumar, resident of Samba district in Jammu. His condition is stated to be serious but he was responding the treatment.
Dead and injured jawans belonged to 8 JAK Li.
Paying tributes to the martyrs, the Army assured befitting response to grave provocation by Pakistan.
Asserting that it was not a normal infiltration attempt in which the militants just wanted to infiltrate into the Indian territory for causing subversive activities, sources said the intrusion bid was aimed at causing harm to the Indian troops deployed in the forward posts on the LoC.
Two infiltrators killed in retaliatory action by the Army were believed to be Pakistanis and they were equipped with deadly assault rifles and ammunition besides some sophisticated explosive devices, which they used in the attack.
Immediately after the incident, Army sounded alert along the LoC and in twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch. Searches were conducted in Khour and Sunderbani sector in Jammu and Rajouri districts respectively but rest of the militants had managed to retreat to PoK.
Troops have been asked to guard against any possible infiltration attempt by the militants on the LoC as there were reports that militants could make more infiltration attempts with a view to cause subversive activities.
There have been reports that nearly 200 militants were camping on Pakistan side of the LoC, some of them close to the launch pads, waiting for infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir before the onset of winter when snowfall blocks many mountains and peaks on the LoC. Troops have already been put on high alert on the LoC against possible infiltration attempts by the militants.