Security forces have now reached close to the hideout of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag where they had targetted their bombs and shells to drive them out, sources said. An operation against terrorists is going on since late Tuesday night deep inside the dense forests of Gadol area of Kokernag in Anantnag.
The encounter has entered its sixth day, with thousands of troops including para commandos locked in an endless gunfight with terrorists.
Three officers, including two from the Army and a policeman, have been killed in action in an attempt to neutralise the terrorists.
Profile of terrorists
The heavily armed terrorists, believed to be two-three in number, are hiding in a tactically favourable location in the dense and steep forest.
They are believed to be affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba as one of them is one of them is Uzair Khan, who joined Lashkar last year and is well aware of the area.
It has been raining intermittently at the encounter site since Saturday, which is causing a lot of difficulty in the operation. Especially on these hills of Pir Panjal, there are dense forests, caves, and ditches, due to which the visibility reduces considerably and makes the operation riskier.
Army sources said that there is no firing from terrorists, but until that area is completely sanitised, army personnel cannot go there. It’s possible that the terrorist may be alive and hiding to fire secretly. They may even have planted an improvised explosive device (IED) in the hideout and set it to explode when the soldiers reach there. This is why the army is moving very slowly, sources said.
Army dogs and equipment to detect explosives are also being used to clear the area.
Security forces suspect that the hide out may have dead bodies of the terrorists. Even if they aren’t dead, it would be very difficult to escape as the army has cordoned off the entire area.
Action so far
The troops have fired hundreds of mortar shells and rockets, targeted suspected terrorist hideouts with hi-tech equipment, and dropped explosives using advanced drones.
The Army has even released a picture of the drone being used in the operation.
OP GAROL#LtGenUpendraDwivedi#ArmyCdr, Northern Command reviewed the operational situation on the ongoing operations at #Kokernag forest area in #Anantnag. He was briefed by the ground commanders on the High Intensity Operations in which Hi-tech Equipment is being used for… pic.twitter.com/MggzlYb2Lh
— NORTHERN COMMAND – INDIAN ARMY (@NorthernComd_IA) September 16, 2023
The joint operation by Army and police began Tuesday night based on intelligence input, followed by an attempt to approach the terrorist hideout next day. The terrorists who appear to have anticipated the action opened fire on the forces, caught between the dense forests and hill on one side and a deep ditch on the other.
Leading from the front, two Army officers – Colonel Manpreet Singh and Major Ashish Dhonchak, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Himayun Bhat – were killed in action. Two more soldiers were injured while another is believed to be missing.