BJP leader recalls horrific 5 hours of being held hostage by militants in Jammu and Kashmir

Three Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists held 65-year old Vijay Kumar Verma, the BJP’s booth president hostage for over five hours yesterday.
Security forces personnel after an encounter with the terrorists at Batote in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.(PTI photo)
Security forces personnel after an encounter with the terrorists at Batote in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.(PTI photo)
Updated on Sep 29, 2019 02:31 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Jammu | ByRavi Krishnan Khajuria

The three Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists eliminated in an intense gun-battle on Saturday in Batote town, probably wanted to go to Srinagar and that’s why had sought a vehicle from 65-year old Vijay Kumar Verma, the BJP’s booth president held hostage for over five hours.

Recalling those horrific five hours of being a hostage in his own house, Verma said, “Three terrorists entered our house around 11.30 am on Saturday. At that time my wife, my daughter-in-law and a neighbourer were with me in my house. My two sons had gone to the market. These armed men, out of whom two had kept unkempt beard and one was clean shaven, came inside and sat quietly in a room. They were between 20 to 30 years of age. They didn’t talk to us at that point in time but of course a chill ran down our spine.”

Verma recalled that after some time his eldest son came home.

“My daughter- in-law brought water for these dreadful looking men but they refused it. I secretly rolled my eyes asking my family members to leave the house. One-by- one my wife, daughter in law, son and neighbourer left the house but when I started to leave, one of the terrorists with a gun signaled me to sit down quietly,” he said.

They were not in army fatigues.

Verma said that probably not in their nerves because of being chased by the security forces, the terrorists didn’t hold the entire family hostage.

“Thereafter, I started getting frantic calls from my family on my mobile and one of the ultras asked me about it. The one who talked to me used Urdu language but they conversed with each other in Kashmiri language,” he said.

“I knew that I was held hostage but was a relieved man because my family had left the house and was not in any danger anymore. They neither abused me nor beat me up but took my cell phone. They talked on my phone with someone in Kashmiri language which I didn’t comprehend,” he added.

Verma said that encounter started around 12.15 pm.

He recalled that when security forces yelled his name to enquire about his well-being, the terrorists asked him to respond to the calls telling the forces that he was fine.

“Security forces also asked militants to surrender and asked them about their count. They lied and said that they were five in number,” said Verma.

“During captivity the terrorists also asked me if I had any vehicle but I lied to them. Probably, they wanted to go to Srinagar. They had also asked me if I can take them to the road,” said Verma.

“They carried hand-grenades, AK rifle, pistol and probably an INSAS rifle besides good number of ammunition,” he added.

“They had a backpack and carried almonds. They offered me almonds but I told them that I had no teeth to chew the dry fruit”, he added.

“In the final phase of the operation there was intense exchange of firing. I had cornered myself in a room where one terrorist was with me. The two others were in an adjoining store room”, he said.

The old man said that when some smoke canisters were fired amid big explosions and there was smoke all around, he used a pillow to save himself and so does the terrorist with him.

“But soon this terrorist rushed outside, towards the lobby and I heard loud voices Maro- Maro (kill, kill). There was indiscriminate firing. After around 20 minutes I also came out and saw there was no terrorist, two others were also not there in the store. One of the doors of my house was on fire. I raised my hands and ran outside. An army officer asked me if I was Vijay Kumar Verma and that’s how I was rescued but I am sad that a young soldier lost his life,” he said.

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