Jammu/ Oct,24 : Two policemen and a soldier have been injured in the gun battle between security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district.
A jailed militant from Pakistan-Administered- Kashmir (PaK), who was remanded in police custody and was brought to the encounter site to identify possible routes the militants used, was also injured in the firing, officials said, adding that the injured militant could not be evacuated due to heavy firing.
The fresh gunbattle in Poonch – where the anti-militancy operation entered its 14th day Sunday – started after militants opened fire on a joint search party of the Army and police inside a forest in Poonch district Sunday morning, officials said.
According to police, they were approaching amilitant hideout in Bhata Durian area when they were fired upon by the militants hiding there. Police said the terrorist, Zia Mustafa, couldn’t be extracted due to heavy firing. Zia, was lodged in Kot Balwal jail for several years and taken on 10 days remand by police on Friday.
A resident of Pakistan-Administered-Kashmir (PaK), Zia had infiltrated 15 years ago and was lodged at Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail. There were reports that he may have been in touch with the militants from jail. Zia was taken to Mendhar in Poonch apparently to identify the route terrorists involved in Poonch encounter may have used.
The Army is engaged in one of the longest and toughest anti-militancy operation in the area for the last 14 days. Nine soldiers including two officers have died in the line of duty so far. The anti-militancy operation in the forest areas in the twin border districts began on October 11 when militants ambushed a search party killing five soldiers including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in Poonch before another gunfight in nearby Thanamandi on the same day. On October 14, the militants struck again and killed four soldiers including a JCO in Nar Khas forest in Mendhar as the security forces combed the area to neutralise the hiding militants. Drones and helicopters were pressed into service to assist the marching troops, which included para-commandos, in the jungle area at a distance of over 20 km from the Line of Control (LoC), the officials said. Police have detained 10 persons, including two women for questioning after it came to light that they allegedly provided logistic support including food and shelter to the militants, the officials said.