2 soldiers killed, JCO remains missing after J-K encounter

A defence ministry spokesperson said the two soldiers were critically injured in an ongoing operation in the Nar Khas forest area of Poonch’s Mendhar
A soldier frisks a motorist along a street in Srinagar on Friday.( AFP)
A soldier frisks a motorist along a street in Srinagar on Friday.( AFP)
Updated on Oct 16, 2021 03:19 AM IST
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ByRavi Krishnan Khajuria, Hindustan Times, Jammu

Two soldiers from Uttarakhand were killed in an encounter with terrorists in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) while a junior commissioned officer (JCO) was missing, taking the number of Army personnel killed in the counterterrorism operations in the area to seven this week, the Army said on Friday.

Defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand said the two soldiers — 26-year-old Vikram Singh Negi and 27-year-old Yogambar Singh — were killed during a search and cordon operation, in the Nar Khas forest area of Poonch’s Mendhar on Thursday evening.

“During the operation, there was heavy exchange of fire and in the ensuing gunfight, Rifleman Vikram Singh Negi and Rifleman Yogambar Singh were critically injured and later succumbed to their injuries,” he said.

“(The two)...displayed exemplary courage, devotion and made the supreme sacrifice in (the) line of duty. The nation will always remain indebted to these brave hearts for their supreme sacrifice for the nation.”

Negi hailed from village Viman Gaon, Narendra Nagar, in Uttarakhand’s Tehri Garhwal district while Singh was from village Sankari in the state’s Chamoli district.

An army official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the JCO was presumed dead initially, but later he was found missing.

Efforts are on to trace him, the official added.

On October 11, five army personnel, including a JCO, were killed in an encounter in Dera Ki Gali in the Surankote area of Poonch district.

The casualties in that encounter were the worst security forces have suffered in anti-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir this year and came days after a series of targeted attacks left seven civilians dead in the region.

A second army officer said the terrorists involved in the Nar Khas gunfight are likely to be part of the same group involved in the October 11 encounter.

The army has launched a search operation in a forest area between the mountainous border districts of Rajouri and Poonch. The area is treacherous, making the operation difficult and dangerous, an officer said.

A third Army officer said the loss of seven soldiers within four days showed that infiltration attempts were on and some of them were successful.

The officer said infiltration attempts usually increase in October right before the onset of winter and closure of routes due to heavy snowfall.

J&K Police chief Dilbag Singh in August said that infiltration resumed after a brief lull following a renewed ceasefire agreement between the director general of military operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan in February. He, however, added that terror camps across the border remained intact.

The DGMOs on February 25 announced the two countries agreed to strictly observe the ceasefire along the LoC.

The J&K Police have said that the terrorists involved in October 11 attacks on security forces in Poonch were present in the area for the last two to three months.

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Monday, November 29, 2021