Kokernag ops continue for 3rd day against Pak-LeT jihadists
The PSO to Col Manpreet Singh is missing. A body can be seen near the hideout but there is no positive identification.
The counter-terrorist operations in the Gadole area of Kokernag in Valley are continuing for the third day against holed-up jihadists of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) even though there is no retaliatory firing coming in response to targeting by the security forces.
According to authoritative sources, one of the terrorists is a Kokernag resident identified as Ujair and the other could be a Pakistani national. The two had taken shelter among fallen trees in the Gadole forested area at a height for tactical advantage. The encounter site is at a steep height and is forested at places.
While 19 Rashtriya Rifles Commanding Officer Col Manpreet Singh, Major Ashish Dhonchak, and DySP of JKP Humayun Bhat lost their lives in firing by the jihadists on Wednesday, the personal security officer of the CO has still not been accounted for and his whereabouts are unknown. It is understood that a body is lying near the hide-out but the security forces cannot confirm whether it belongs to the terrorist or the PSO to Col Manpreet Singh.
Even though Kashmiri media is abuzz with the stories about the three officers being led into an ambush by a source who double-crossed them, top JKP official dismissed this allegation and confirmed that the source was still in the operation. Fact is that all three officers were victims of an AK-47 burst that was fired by the terrorist who had taken them unawares by changing his position close to the CT operatives. All the officers and the PSO were wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets but got hit at the exposed areas in rapid AK-firing. While the brave CO got unlucky and hit in the head, the two other officers bled to death due to constant firing and evacuation from the remote area.
“None of the brave officers were either led into an ambush or were found lacking in following standard operating procedures. They unfortunately got close to the hideout with one of the terrorists taking a position close to them. This is part and parcel of a CT operation and we will make the terrorists accountable for the loss,” said a senior CT official.
While many arm-chair strategists are taking the lead of Pakistani propaganda media and taking pot-shots at the security forces, senior CT officials confirm that they have surrounded the area and efforts are on to neutralize the holed-up jihadists. “ The operation is proceeding in a deliberate manner so that there is no further collateral damage to Indian security forces. Fact is that there are still some 50 foreign terrorists hiding in Jammu and Kashmir and there is no let up from either the Pakistani deep state or their sponsored terrorist groups,” an official said. All three officers died in a fire-fight and efforts are on to avenge their deaths.