12 hour operation ends with killing of all 4 terrorists
1 August 2002
The Daily Excelsior
RAJOURI: First-ever fiercest operation in heart of Rajouri town came to an end after over 12 hours this morning when all four Pakistani terrorists, who had taken positions in an abandoned house at Bela (Suicide Colony), just 80 meters from high security officers enclave, were eliminated by army. Barring an army Captain, Raja Reddy of Hyderabad city, who was killed during the encounter last night, no other casualties were reported on army side. A bandh was observed in the town today to protest spurt in terrorist activities. People demanded that army should launch an operation to flush out the terrorists from the town and outskirts. Official sources told EXCELSIOR that troops continued to engage the terrorists, who had taken positions in the abandoned house of Mohd Lateef and Fateh Mohd in Suicide Colony, throughout the last night. About 30 to 35 mortars were used by army during the heavy exchange of gun-fighting with foreign mercenaries. Sources said two terrorists came on roof of the house probably to see security forces positions in an attempt to escape. However, the alert army personnel shot dead both of them instantly. Two remaining ultras were gunned down during next three hours exchange of firing and the operation was completed at 0700 hours today. The house was damaged during the operation. Sources said the families of house owners—Mohd Lateef and Fateh Mohd had migrated to Chandi Marh about six months back. Bodies of the terrorists were recovered from the house by security forces at about 0830 hours. Slain terrorists were later identified as Abu Hamzala, commander of the four members terrorist group, Abu Abdul Rehman, Abdul Salam and Salam Mohd, all Pakistanis affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit. Recoveries made from the house included three AK-56 rifles, one AK-47 rifle, four packed army dresses, 10 AK magazines, six hand grenades, 444 rounds, Pakistan-made medicines and some important documents. Sources said the recovery of four new army dresses from the house was a clear indication that slain terrorists were fidayeens and had a definite plan to carry out a suicide attack on DC Colony, just 80 meters from the scene of encounter, housing residential quarters of DC, DIG and SSP besides a number of Government officers and employees. Possibility of the terrorists having planned to target civilians in the town was also not ruled out. Preliminary investigations carried out by police revealed that the terrorists had fixed time of 2030 hours to carry out their attack last night. At same time, another group of terrorists had last night opened firing on Darhali bridge from Chowdhary Narh. ''The attack that was foiled due to timely action by army had been well-planned. Normally, police and army would have rushed to Chowdhary Narh after attack on Darhali bridge. At that time, the fidayeens would have sneaked into DC Colony'', the sources said, adding the terrorists at Chowdhary Narh might not have been aware of the fact that their associates had been trapped by army. Investigations also revealed that all four ultras had come to Suicide Colony from industrial area side. They were reportedly accompanied by a guide. The unidentified guide was reported to have accompanied the terrorists upto the house and then escaped. Sources said they were investigating the place where the attack was planned. A bandh was observed in the town today to protest increase in terrorist activities. A procession was taken in the town which was addressed among others by Sanatan Dharam Sabha leader Ashok Sharma and BJP leaders Vibodh Gupta and Yogesh Sharma. They demanded that Rajouri town should be handed over to army for carrying out an operation to flush out the terrorists and their harbourers. In the morning, police had also appealed to the shopkeepers to keep their shutters down in view of encounter and search operation. Normalcy was restored in the town after operation was completed. Meanwhile, bodies of slain terrorists were brought to bridge by local people from where a police vehicle shifted them to Nagrota where they were buried. Body of Captain Raja would be sent to his native town in Hyderabad tomorrow with full military honours. Reddy, a very popular personality among local people, had died while fighting bravely with the terrorists and evacuating civilians from the locality to save their lives. A large number of local people including prominent citizens thronged a security camp to have ‘last darshan’ of the brave Captain and hero of Rajouri. People were all praise for Capt Reddy, who saved a number of civilians from the Colony, before he succumbed to his injuries. Capt Reddy belonging to a family of industrialist was married to an army doctor only two months back.