February 2016 News

LeT Comdr Among 5 Militants, 2 Army Men Killed In Kupwara

13 February 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Five militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) including their commander and two Army men were killed and two Army personnel including an officer were injured during a fierce gun battle in Chowkibal forest area of North Kashmir's Kupwara district today. The gun battle that started last evening continued throughout the night and in the morning, troops killed five militants who were holed up in the house of Ghulam Mohammad Wani son of Abdullah Wani in Marasi village of Chowkibal. Two Army jawans were killed and two were injured in the gun battle. Sources said that seven militants infiltrated during the intervening night of February 8 and 9 into Zonreshi forests of Chowkibal from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Army received information about their presence in the forests on February 11 and launched an operation against them and they established contact with them yesterday. Army's 41 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), 16 Grenadiers and 19 Maratha Regiment, 4 Para and Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police cordoned off the Zonreshi, Marasi village after they traced these militants in Marasi village. As the troops started cordon-and-search operation, militants hiding in a house fired on troops leading to a gun battle which continued throughout the night. Five militants, two Army men were killed and two Army personnel including a Major were injured in the gun battle. The two Army men have been identified as Naik Shinde Shankar Chandrabhan, 34, of village Bayale, Nasik in Maharashtra and Gunner Sahdev Maruti More, 26, of village Savalasang, in district Bijapur of Karnataka. Security forces recovered 5 AK-47 rifles, two UBGL throwers, seven UBGL grenades, 13 hand grenades, 25 magazines and large quantity of AK ammunition, pouches, dry fruits, sleeping bags, snow axe and dry fruits besides other war like stores. DIG, North Kashmir, Garib Dass, told Excelsior that they had information about the presence of these militants in the forest area. He said that killing of these five highly trained militants was a major success for the security forces in North Kashmir. A Defence spokesman said here: 'In yet another major blow to the terror outfits, the security forces killed five terrorists in an overnight encounter in Kupwara. Two Army soldiers have also attained martyrdom while two suffered injuries during an intense gunfight.' The spokesman said that the operation was launched by Army and Police yesterday in Zonreshi village, Chowkibal of Kupwara District in North Kashmir on information of presence of some militants in the village. 'As the Army commenced the search of a suspect house, it drew heavy volume of fire and grenades from terrorists hiding in the house. Despite the disadvantage of being fired upon by terrorists from the upper floor of the house, the soldiers immediately retaliated the fire. As the soldiers engaged the terrorists, additional reinforcement effectively cordoned off the house to prevent escape of the terrorists. The operation which continued overnight has resulted in elimination of five terrorists', the spokesman said. The spokesman said: 'The Army also lost two of its gallant soldiers who were the leading scouts and despite bearing the brunt of the initial volley of fire, stood their ground for each other and the rest of the search team thus facilitating elimination of all five terrorists. Two soldiers were also injured in the operation who have been evacuated for medical attention and are stable.' 'Five AK 47 Rifles besides a huge quantity of ammunition and other war like stores have been recovered from the site. Search was continuing at the time of filing this report', the spokesman said. The spokesman said that Naik Shinde was in Army for the last 15 years. 'He was younger of two brothers. His elder brother is a JCO from 5 Para Battalion. He is survived by wife and two small children. He had also served in UN peace keeping in Southern Sudan in 2012.' The spokesman said that Gunner Sahdev More, 26 years old served the Army for 5 years. 'He was the youngest of three brothers. He was engaged in November 15 and was to proceed for marriage in a week's time. He purposely delayed marriage to allow prospective bride to complete her education.'