Pak Army, Militant Rockets Destroys Army Depot, Forest In North Kashmir

4 January 2015
The Hindustan Times
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: A large swathes of forest area was badly affected by the fire triggered during a joint attack by Pakistan army and militants on an ammunition depot in north Kashmir's Tanghdar area, which engulfed and killed two soldiers during the Saturday exchange of fire near the Line of Control, where a halt was witnessed on Sunday following devastating forest fire. Following exchange of fire between soldiers of India and Pakistan in Jammu region since Friday that left Pakistani soldiers dead, HT has learnt a well coordinated attack on an ammunition depot of the Bhijidar Post in Kupwara district, more than 100 km away from Srinagar, was carried out during the intervening night of January 1-2. A closely fired rocket apparently by militants hit the post, setting afire the ammunition and explosives inside the post. The flames lapped up a vast swathes of green forest area, where trees in hundreds got damaged, and the fire was on till late Saturday night. 'Fire has been doused. There is no fire as of now,' Srinagar-based army spokesman Colonel Brijesh Pandey told the Hindustan Times. The extent of damage is being ascertained by the forest department as fire was spread over several kilometres. A police report also confirms that the two slain soldiers, hawaldar Suresh Bhadur and rifleman Vijay Gorej and injured soldiers hawaldar Dam Bhadur and Bushan Sharma, were bearing burn injuries on their bodies. 'They (the dead soldiers) were affected by both firing as well as fire,' confirmed army spokesman Col Pandey. It took army's 5-5 GR and BSF's 12 Battalion several hours to bring fire under control amid fears of more soldiers being trapped inside the forest area under fire. A special team of firefighters was also rushed to the area. There were unconfirmed reports that fire emanated from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir only and crossed into Indian side of Kashmir with both militant's and Pakistan army soldiers apparently to inflict damage on this side as grass is dry and snowfall minimal this year in the area.