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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Avalanche kills 6 jawans in Siachen

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, December 16, 2012
First Published: 17:27 IST(16/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:10 IST(16/12/2012)

Death has again visited Kashmir's Siachen glacier, the highest and coldest battlefield of the world, killing six army soldiers in a snow avalanche on Sunday morning.

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Situated on the northern edge of Kashmir's mighty Himalayas with altitude going as high as 22000 feet, the glacier has turned into a snow desert after continuous snowfall for the past one week making it prone to avalanches.

Army spokesman in Srinagar, Col JS Brar said that a group of soldiers belonging to 1-ASSAM Regiment were buried under an avalanche in Turtuk area of the glacier.

"At 6.15am today our posts at a height of over 17000 feet came under an avalanche in Sub Sector Hanif of Turtuk. Immediately a rescue mission was launched with the help of Avalanche Rescue Teams along with sniffer Dogs," stated Brar. 

"Unfortunately six jawans have lost their lives. Their mortal remains have been recovered. One jawan is still missing. Unfortunately, the rescue had to be halted due to adverse weather conditions," Brar said in the evening.

India and Pakistan armies, battling for the snow wastelands of Siachen since 1984, have lost more soldiers to adverse weather than fighting each other.

On April 7, at-least 130 Pakistani soldiers were killed besides 14 civilians when a giant wall of snow crashed down on the battalion headquarters of army's 6 Northern Light Infantry.

The effect of the tragedy was such that Pakistan army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani publicly questioned the rationale of the two countries to keep soldiers on the glacier.

The physical, economic and psychological loss of army due to weather on this side of Kashmir has been no different. Of every four soldiers lost by army in the mountains of restive valley for the past five years, one has died of weather.

The figures provided by army state that one-third of the total army fatalities including violence related  in the valley from January 2007 to March 2012 were due to snow avalanches.

Around 242 soldiers were killed in the valley since 2007, out of which 180 lost their lives fighting militants. The rest were consumed by natural calamities mostly snow avalanches.


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