20 infiltrators killed in Poonch gunbattle, 10 on the run: Army
2 November 2001
The Indian Express
Jammu: Twenty of an estimated 40-odd infiltrators were gunned down by the army today near the Line of Control in Sawjian, Poonch in three fierce gun battles that continued through the day. This is the largest ever case of infiltration in this area. At least 10 infiltrators were said to be still holed up in the area and five had been captured when reports were last received. However, a defence spokesman told The Indian Express that only 20 militants had infiltrated into Indian territory and all of them had been killed. Sources said the infiltrators crossed the LoC and entered Sawjian taking advantage of bad weather conditions — it rained heavily in Poonch late last night — and under cover of heavy firing from across the LoC. They were spotted by troops of the Poonch Brigade while moving towards the Pir Panjal range, presumably en route to the dense Poonch forests, and then challenged. When thejawans approached, they fired and fled. The troops gave chase and zeroed in on them at Nerian, Sawjian. Twelve militants were killed here in a four-hour- long encounter. The other militants threw grenades and managed to break the troops’ cordon but they were tracked down by the jawans at Dolawali, Loran and again engaged in a gunfight that continued for over three hours. The sources said six militants were killed here. As the militants again fled, the troops killed two more at Satra near Timbra. A huge cache of arms and ammunition including AK rifles, grenades, detonators, rations and other items were recovered from the five militants. Additional troops have been rushed to the area. The sources said Sawjian and border villages adjoining it have been cordoned off by the troops and movement of civilians restricted in the area to minimise the casualties.