Ultras Strike As Kalam Comes Calling
28 June 2003
Jammu: Once again, stepped-up militancy coincided with the visit of a VVIP to Jammu and Kashmir. Twelve soldiers were killed and seven injured in a pre-dawn fidayeen attack by terrorists at Sunjuwan cantonment, near Jammu city. The attack comes at a time when Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is visiting the state. The two militants involved in the attack were killed in the ensuing six-hour long encounter. The Al Nasreen, a little known outfit, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Army has been put on high alert in the state. The militants in Army fatigues and armed with grenades and assault rifles attacked the cantonment around 4.30 a.m. 'They entered a barrack where jawans were sleeping and started firing,' Brigadier JS Thind, Sunjuwan brigade commander, said. The Army's Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) were called and an operation was launched to flush out the ultras. QRT members spotted the two in Barrack A. The militants were killed around 10.30 a.m. after an encounter. Two AK-47 rifles were seized. Situated on the Srinagar-Pathankot road, Sunjuwan Cantonment houses three Army units. The Army had intelligence inputs that the cantonment was on the hit-list of the militants. Even as a gunbattle was on at Sunjuwan cantonment, the President toured forward positions on the LoC in the Uri sector. Addressing soldiers of the 12th Infantry Brigade, Dr Kalam lauded the Army for successfully controlling infiltration across LoC. 'A large number of terrorists are eliminated everyday. But our aim is to restore normalcy in J&K and ensure that peace returns to this border state. I am confident that the armed forces will respond to any task even beyond the call of duty...' Dr Kalam is the first President to visit positions on the LoC. He congratulated the troops for their 'excellent work' on the field, in their missions and in interacting with the people.