Major, 2 jawans injured as 2-4 ultras remain at large16 July 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: An Army Major and two soldiers were injured in another round of gun-battle with the militants hiding in Beri Rakh forests in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch district in wee hours of this morning as the ultras tried to break a forceful cordon of Army and police but didnít succeed. As the massive search operation entered into fifth day today, troops of Rashtriya Rifles joined by police and SOG personnel extended their searches to Bajaad forests in the surroundings of Beri Rakh where some movement of the ultras was noticed early today. Reports said Major G S Shekhawat of 43 Rashtriya Rifles along with Naik Narinder Kumar and Rifleman Partap Bhanu were injured when two militants opened firing on a search party in a bid to break the cordon of Army to escape from the forests. The firing took place in Bajaad forests in the surrounding of Beri Rakh forest area around 5 am today as the troops had extended their area of operation in search of remaining two to four militants. Troops retaliated and thwarted the militant plot to escape from the forests. After the firing, the militants were reported to have fled deep into the forest area of Bajaad. Army continued searches to eliminate the remaining militants. Injured Army personnel including the Major were airlifted from Mendhar and admitted in Military Hospital, Rajouri where their condition was stated to be stable. They had sustained gun shot and splinter injuries in heavy firing by the militants. No militant was killed or injured in todayís operation. Yesterday, Army and police had gunned down two Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit in Beri Rakh forests and recovered a large quantity of arms, ammunition, explosives and Pakistan made eatables from their possession. Army and police had launched searches in Beri Rakh forests in Mendhar on July 12 after developing inputs that a group of four to six foreign mercenaries had sneaked into the forest area. First contact with the ultras was established on July 13 night in which Major Amit Thinge of Madhya Pradesh sacrificed his life while Colonel Ajay Katoch, Commanding Officer (CO) of 37 Rashtriya Rifles was injured along with five other Army soldiers. On July 15, Army and police had killed two Pakistani militants while three cops had sustained minor splinter wounds in a grenade lobbed by the ultras. Sources said two to four more militants could still be hiding in Beri Rakh and Bajaad forests in Mendhar tehsil. A strong pose of Army personnel, joined by local police and SOG, have cordoned off both forests to ensure that the militants didnít manage to escape. They added that the militants appeared to be well equipped with sophisticated weapons and explosive devices besides the satellite telephone. One satellite phone has already been recovered by the troops from the possession of two militants killed yesterday. The militants appeared to be a part of fresh infiltrated group which was evident from the recovery of some Pakistan made eatables during searches in Beri Rakh forests. SSP Poonch Manmohan Singh was camping at Beri Rakh forests. Sources said senior Army officers of Romeo Force were personally supervising the operation against the militants. Meanwhile, heavy firing by Pakistani troops in Krishna Ghati and Jhalas sectors in Poonch district last night stopped in wee hours of today morning. Attempts by the Pakistan Army to push militants under the cover of firing and darkness were foiled by the troops on this side.