Jammu: Security forces continued a massive search operation Tuesday for terrorists in a forest area connecting the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. Five soldiers including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) were killed in a gunfight with the terrorists Monday in Poonch district, officials said. There was no fresh contact with terrorists during the ongoing operation n the dense forest areas of Surankote in Poonch and nearby Thanamandi in Rajouri, the officials informed.
After the initial encounter, the terrorists fled to nearby Panghai forest which falls in the jurisdiction of Rajouri’s Thanamandi. They were chased by the troops and engaged in another encounter, the officials said.
The gunfight between the two sides stopped Monday evening after the terrorists took advantage of the dense forest and fled. However, the whole forest belt has been cordoned off and a search operation is underway to neutralise the hiding terrorists. Senior police and army officers also have rushed to the area to supervise the operation.
Earlier, a Defence spokesman said on the intervening night of October 10 and 11, a counter-terrorist operation was launched by the Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police in the area of Shahdara, near the boundary of Poonch-Rajouri districts.
“During the conduct of the operation, terrorists brought down a heavy volume of fire on Army troops leading to fatal injuries to one JCO and four soldiers,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region have witnessed a rise in infiltration attempts since June this year. This has resulted in the killing of nine terrorists in separate encounters. Three soldiers also laid down their lives in the previous operations.
Meanwhile, a group of youth staged an anti-Pakistan demonstration in Poonch town against the killing of Indian soldiers. The youth, mostly belonging to the Sikh community, also set ablaze an effigy marked as Pakistan for its continued support to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said.
“We condemn Pakistan for its continued support to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. The time has come when the Indian government should teach Pakistan a lesson for sending terrorists who are killing innocent civilians and our jawans,” Kamaljeet Singh, one of the protesters said.