QRTs of Army, police reach site of gun battle
JAMMU, May 31: Even as police and security forces were struggling to track down the killers of prominent BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar besides top RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Kumar, a fresh group of three to four militants has infiltrated into upper reaches of Marwah in Kishtwar district, which was trapped by the police early this morning but they managed to slip away after causing injuries to two Special Police Officers (SPOs).
While police and security agencies had identified the militants involved in the killing of Parihar brothers and Sharma and were hunting them in the mountainous areas of Kishtwar district (exact location not disclosed due to security reasons), a fresh group was intercepted by the search parties at Aapan Nullah in Marwah area around 9.30 am today when they were crossing the Nullah and heading towards Kishtwar.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Range MK Sinha, who visited the Military Hospital Udhampur where injured SPOs were airlifted from Kishtwar, told the Excelsior that SOG, Army and police have sent Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) to Marwah to trap and eliminate the militants. Massive search operations were on, he said.
SSP Kishtwar Shakti Pathak told the Excelsior that an encounter followed in which two SPOs were injured, both of them seriously. Initially, the militants managed to escape. However, reinforcement of Army and police was rushed to the area immediately and mountains were surrounded to trap the militants. By tonight when the reports last came in, the militants remained untraced.
Number of the militants was believed to be between three to four, Pathak said, adding it was believed to be a new group though identification of the militants was not known immediately.
Injured SPOs have been identified as Mohammad Iqbal and Ashiq Hussain. In view of their serious condition, they were airlifted to Military Hospital, Udhampur.
According to sources, the militants involved in the killings of BJP and RSS leaders in Kishtwar town on November 1, 2018 and April 9, 2019 were well within the limits of Kishtwar district but were frequently changing their hideouts in the mountains to avoid their killings.
“Police and Army teams were already on the job to track down the militants,’’ sources said, adding that one of them Haroon Bhat of Doda district, had recently crossed over to South Kashmir from upper reaches of Kishtwar. Haroon had joined the militancy some time back and was associated with the group, which had executed the killings of Parihars and Chanderkant. However, it wasn’t yet clear whether Haroon was himself involved in Kishtwar killings or not.
Sources said the new group might have been dispatched by the militant commanders from South Kashmir for more targeted killings in Kishtwar, which was evident from the fact that it was a new group. And, going by the route taken by the militants, there were enough indications that they were heading towards Kishtwar. But, their target wasn’t known immediately.
While eight militants were already active in Kishtwar district, whose identity was known to police and security agencies, it was altogether a new group which surfaced in Marwah today. The reports were that they had sneaked into from South Kashmir.
It may be mentioned here that BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar were gunned down by the militants near their house late in the evening on November 1, 2018 while RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Kumar were killed inside the District Hospital Kishtwar on April 9 this year. Besides, the militants had in March struck in Kishtwar town and snatched AK rifle of a PSO.
The case of Parihar brothers’ killing has been handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) while two other terror cases were being investigated by Kishtwar police.
Meanwhile, IGP Jammu MK Sinha today visited the Military Hospital Udhampur and inquired condition of two SPOs, who were injured in the encounter.
Sinha complimented the SPOs for bravery displayed by the injured SPOs and inquired from the hospital authorities about the treatment being given to them. He assured that best possible medical treatment will be provided to the injured SPOs.