Bid to revive militancy in Rajouri; 4 AK rifles, 11 pistols seized

Arms and ammunition recovered by police in Rajouri on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Gafoor Bhat
Arms and ammunition recovered by police in Rajouri on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Gafoor Bhat

Army jawan martyred, 2 injured
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, May 22: In a major success, police today recovered large quantity of arms and ammunition including four AK rifles and 11 pistols from a hideout of the militants in Chatyari forest area of Rajouri and foiled the militants’ plot to revive militancy in the border district of Rajouri.
Meanwhile, an Army jawan was martyred and two others were injured in an accidental blast during live training drill with live ammunition in Mendhar sector of Poonch district.
“On a forward post as a part of `Mission Readiness Training, the Army soldiers were carrying out training drill with live ammunition when an incident took place as a live grenade got actuated and resulted in grievous injuries to instructor and minor injuries to two others.
The Instructor later succumbed to his injuries. He has been identified as Naik Shreeshailappa Balabatti, a resident of Bagalkot, Karnataka. He is survived by his wife Geetha.
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“Detailed investigation of the incident is underway so as to take corrective measures. The incident is unfortunate. However, training with live ammunition is the risk soldiers take,” a Defence spokesman said.
He added that injured soldiers are out of danger.
Meanwhile, police said it was being verified whether the consignment recovered in Rajouri was old or latest one dumped by the militants for picking it up and use it at an opportune time. However, it could be part of the militant plot to revive militancy in Doda, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch districts after Kishtwar.
Recently, police had arrested two South Kashmir militants from Gool in Ramban district along with arms and ammunition while two others had managed to escape. The militants were part of the module which was planning to revive militancy in Ramban on the pattern of Kishtwar.
DIG Rajouri-Poonch range Vivek Gupta told the Excelsior that police today conducted search operation in Chatyari forest on the outskirts of Rajouri following specific inputs about an arms dump lying in a natural cave hideout.
During searches, police destroyed the hideout and recovered the consignment that included one AK-56 automatic assault rifle, three AK-47 automatic assault rifles, 11 pistols including two modified, eight magazines of AK rifle, 21 pistol magazines, two modified pistol magazines, 606 AK rounds and 36 pistol rounds.
Police said the hideout was located deep inside the forest area and the consignment of arms and ammunition had been hidden inside it after being wrapped in the bags.
After effecting recoveries, police parties launched massive search operations in Chatyari forests and surrounding areas. However, no arrests were made from the spot.
Police was examining the weaponry to ascertain as to when it had been kept in the hideout by the militants. During past some time, no infiltration has been reported from the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri sector.
However, it appeared that the militants had kept the consignment in the hideout to pick it up at a later date for subversive activities. Possibility of the militants planning to take consignment of arms and ammunition to Kashmir via Mughal road has also not been ruled out.
Police parties in the operation were led by DySP (Police Component) Rajouri, Pranav Mahajan and DySP Headquarters Govind Rattan along with Incharge Chatyar Chingus police post and Sub Inspector MD Khan under the supervision of Additional SP Rajouri Liaquat Ali.
A case in connection with the recoveries has been registered at Rajouri police station for further investigations.
Sources said Rajouri police had been on the alert for the past few days and had been undertaking long and small range patrols especially after revival of militancy in Kishtwar district and similar attempt by the militants made in Ramban district recently. There had been reports that the militants were also planning to revive militancy in Doda, Rajouri and Poonch districts.
Sources didn’t rule out the possibility of the consignment being part of attempts by the militants to revive militancy in the border district of Rajouri, where no major terror act has been reported for the past quite some time.