Another Pak militant killed, Khwas encounter toll 2; one still at large

Body of the militant being shifted from the hill at Dhakkikot in Reasi. -Excelsior/Romesh Mengi
Body of the militant being shifted from the hill at Dhakkikot in Reasi. -Excelsior/Romesh Mengi

Slain ultras were involved in Dhangri, Kesari Hill attacks
VDC member plays vital role in operation
Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Aug 18: Security forces and police today recovered body of dreaded Pakistani militant from Dhakkikot in Reasi district, who had escaped from encounter at Gundna Khwas in Rajouri on August 5, taking toll to two amid reports that there could be one more militant in the area.
Both slain militants were involved in Dhangri and Kesari Hill terror attacks in Rajouri district, police said quoting very specific inputs.
A Village Defence Committee (VDC) member Mohammad Rafiq told the Excelsior on telephone from Dhakkikot that he observed movement of two militants in the area on August 14 and informed concerned police.

“One of them was in injured condition and was being escorted by his colleague towards forests,” he said, adding the security personnel launched the searches.
Rafiq said the militants were in Army uniform but were wearing white boots. They were equipped with arms and ammunition though one of them was unable to walk easily.
Defence spokesman Lt Col Suneel Bartwal said the Indian Army along with JKP and SOG were pursuing relentless operations in Dhakkikot forests of Reasi district and observed suspicious movement last night.
“Security personnel challenged the suspects and took positions. The terrorist was seen stumbling and falling down the cliff in dense jungle. During searches which were also joined by the VDC members, body of the foreign terrorist was recovered along with war like stores. Operation is in progress,” Lt Col Bartwal said.
Police said the militants killed at Gundna Khwas and Dhakkikot are suspected to be involved in terror incidents in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch including attacks on security forces and civilians at Kesari Hill and Dhangri.
Briefing reporters, DIG Udhampur-Reasi Range Suleman Choudhary flanked by SSP Reasi Amit Gupta said Reasi Police, SOG and Army spotted the suspects at Dhakkikot and chased them during which the militant fell down from the hill and died.
“Slain militant is confirmed Pakistani terrorist though his identity hasn’t been established so far,” Choudhary said, adding that three hand grenades and ammunition were recovered from the slain militant.
To a question as to whether the militants planned to target Kounsar Nag yatra, the DIG Rajouri-Poonch range said adequate security arrangements have been made for the pilgrimage.
Choudhary confirmed that searches continue in the areas.
Officials said the slain militant had escaped from Gundna Khwas in Rajouri district during August 5 gun battle when one of the militants was killed.
As per sources, two militants escaped towards surrounding forests of Mahore in Reasi district and were spotted at Dhakkikot where one of them was eliminated.
Officials lauded the role played by the Village Defence Committee members in informing police and security forces and subsequent search operations in the area.
Police and security officials confirmed that elimination of two militants—one each at Gundna Khwas and Dhakkikot—have averted major terror attacks as the Pakistani militants were planning to target minorities and security forces to step up militancy in Rajouri, Poonch and Reasi districts.
Rajouri and Poonch districts have witnessed spurt in terror attacks this year. While seven civilians from minorities were killed by the militants at Dhangri in Rajouri on first day of the year, five bravehearts of Army sacrificed their lives in a terror attack at Mendhar on April 20 and another five at Kandi forest of Rajouri on May 5.
Troops had later eliminated four militants in Surankote followed by Gundna Khwas encounter whose toll has now reached two.