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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

J-K: Fresh gunbattle at Keran sector, Army claims 12 more

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, October 04, 2013
First Published: 10:04 IST(4/10/2013) | Last Updated: 15:22 IST(4/10/2013)

The army is engaged in a fresh gunbattle with Pakistan-backed militants in Keran sector’s Shala Batu village, about 30 km away from Gujjatur where three militants were gunned down in the morning while they tried to enter the Indian side.

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“We are gradually narrowing down the operation. Intermittent firing is on,” army spokesman Vij said regarding the Shala Batu operation. He rubbished the reports that a territory was under the militants’ control. However, pro-militant groups are using Facebook and Twitter to claim a portion of territory has been occupied by the militants.

Around six square km area is under operation right now. The operation is on in a tough terrain with steep rugged mountain slopes, streams and dense forests. “We are deliberately going slow to avoid any casualty,” he added.

Sources said the militants were using global positioning system and were trained to sustain long-hour operation inside hills.

Right now the army’s focus is on whether there was any attempt from the Pakistani side to push in more militants to intensify the battle which entered the 11th day on Friday.

Detailing about the Gujjartu operation, army spokesman Naresh Vij told the Hindustan Times, “A fresh group of militants were spotted in the wee hours in Keran Sector’s Gujjartur area. They were challenged and in the cross-firing three militants were killed.”

There is no information about the group which accompanied the three militants during the fresh at Gujjartu. The army said, “The other accompanying militants have been pushed back.”  However, Vij  refused to comment on whether more militants were being pushed into the valley to help the holed up ones.

Sources however told the HT that area of operation has been widened and more elite troops are being rushed to the area.

Indeed, a few areas of Kupwara, away from the flashpoint, are also being condoned off in a bid to stop any militant movement from within the valley into the area where the militants are holed up.


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