2 Captains, 2 soldiers killed in J&K gunfight | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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2 Captains, 2 soldiers killed in J&K gunfight

Nov 23, 2023 02:24 AM IST

Two army Captains and two soldiers were killed in a gunbattle with terrorists in Rajouri district of Jammu & Kashmir. Two others were wounded.

Two army Captains and two soldiers were killed, while another officer and soldier were wounded, in a fierce gunbattle with heavily armed terrorists that started on Wednesday morning and continued late into the night inside a dense forest in Rajouri district of Jammu & Kashmir, officials aware of the matter said.

Security personnel at the site of the encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Wednesday. (ANI)
Security personnel at the site of the encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Wednesday. (ANI)

The officers killed in action were both Captains of the 63 Rashtriya Rifles, while a Havaldar of 9 Para (Special Forces) and a soldier also lost their lives, the officials said, asking not to be named. The wounded included a Major of 9 Para (Special Forces) and a soldier.

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Their identities were not disclosed as of late Wednesday night.

The encounter broke out between security forces and terrorists — believed to be two or three in number — in Bajimaal area in Kalakote tehsil of Rajouri district on Wednesday morning after officers from the army and Jammu & Kashmir police acted on an intelligence input and launched a cordon-and-search operation in the area.

“The first contact with terrorists was established at Solki by the 63 Rashtriya Rifle troops around 9am. Immediately, a cordon and search operation was launched,” said an army officer, who asked not to be named. “In the ensuing search operation, troops were fired upon by terrorists in which two Captains of the 63 RR and 9 Para (Special Forces) respectively, besides a Havaldar of 9 Para (SF) and a soldier were killed.”

READ | J&K: Pak terrorist killed in encounter with security forces in Rajouri

“A Major of 9 Para (SF) and another soldier, who were wounded in the gunfight, were evacuated to the Command Hospital in Udhampur. They are stable,” the officer said, adding that the operation was still underway as of late on Wednesday night.

A cordon has been put in place around the area and the operation will resume at first light on Thursday, the officer quoted above said. He added that the operation has been intensified with induction of additional troops.

“It’s a group of terrorists that were known to be operating in the area for a while and are heavily armed. Security forces had been looking for them over the past month now. This morning the troops established contact with them,” the officer said.

In a post on X, the Nagrota-based White Knight Corps of the army said that based on specific intelligence, joint operations were launched in the Kalakote area of Gulabgarh forest in Rajouri on Sunday. “Contact established on 22 Nov and intense firefight ensued. The terrorists have been injured and surrounded and operations are in progress, amidst acts of valour and sacrifice by own brave hearts in trying to prevent collateral damage to women and children in the highest traditions of Indian Army. White Knight Corps salutes the supreme sacrifice,” it said.

The Indian Army, however, did not issue any statement on the operation till Wednesday night.

READ | Three soldiers injured in gunfight with terrorists in Rajouri

“Operation is still in progress. Information will be shared after termination of operation,” defence spokesperson Lt Colonel Suneel Bartwal said.

The unnamed official quoted above, however, emphasised that it was a “bad day” for the forces.

An intelligence official familiar with the operation details said that the commandos of the 9 Para (Special Forces) and officers and men of the 63 RR and 54 RR were leading the charge when they came under fire.

A senior police official from Kalakote said that the encounter took place in an area that had a dense forest and treacherous mountainous terrain, which have proved to be challenging for the security forces. “The encounter area is located near Baji Sahab Darbar on Bravi Link Road in Kalakote. The area is around 95km from the Line of Control, which indicates that the terrorists were guided to this place and appear well-entrenched by now with logistical support from sympathisers.”

“Treacherous mountains, dense jungles and alpine forests have made things tough for the security forces,” he added.

Locals quoted by news agency PTI said that a cordon and search operation has been going on in the area since Sunday to track down terrorists believed to be in the region. “Due to the operation we were asked to stay back at home and not venture out. Our children stayed back at home and did not attend the school,” a villager told PTI.

Last week, a terrorist was killed in an encounter with security forces in forest area of Budhal in Rajouri district.

On September 13, two decorated army officers — a Colonel and a Major — and a Deputy Superintendent of Police were killed in an encounter with terrorists in Anantnag district.

On September 12 and 13, security forces had gunned two terrorists in Narla area of Rajouri district.

On September 11, Northern Army commander Lt General Upendra Dwivedi had said that nearly 200 terrorists were waiting to cross the LoC from Pakistan. “They are waiting to infiltrate our territory, but our alert troops are deployed at the borders and we are trying to eliminate them there itself,” he said at the time.

Since January this year, the two border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, south of Pir Panja range, have witnessed a spike in terrorism and related activity. The two districts have witnessed three major terror attacks on January 1 at Dhangri, April 20 at Tota Gali in Poonch and May 5 in the Kandi forests of Rajouri. In the three attacks, the terrorists killed 10 soldiers and seven civilians.

(With inputs from PTI)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    A principal correspondent, Ravi Krishnan Khajuria is the bureau chief at Jammu. He covers politics, defence, crime, health and civic issues for Jammu city.

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