Terror returned to Jammu after nearly six years as three militants, suspected to have sneaked across the Pakistan border on Tuesday, struck at Chinore, opening indiscriminate fire which killed four people, including an armyman, and taking eight people hostage.
With the army retaliating, two of the militants had also been gunned down by late evening.
The army was preparing for a final assault on the third militant, who was holed up inside a double storeyed house having taken the residents, who included four children, captive.
Floodlights were turned on the house to ensure the militant does not take advantage of the darkness to escape.
The children, Sheetal, Ishant, Kajal and Vipin are aged nine, seven, six and three years respectively, according to Billu Ram, the house owner who was providentially away when the attack occurred.
“Three terrorists wearing khaki uniform were stopped at the Chinore check point,” said K. Rajendra, IG Jammu zone. “They immediately opened fire killing a junior commissioned officer and injuring three other soldiers.”
They forced one Vijay Kumar at gunpoint to drive them to Jammu town in his autorickshaw. Their indiscriminate fire killed two others, before they shot dead the auto driver and entered the house they are presently in.
By evening two of the three militants had been shot dead.
The army have appealed to the surviving militant not to harm the women and children. “We are waiting because we don’t want collateral damage,” said Major General D.L. Choudhary, General officer Commanding 26 Infantry Division.