Jammu : Amid deployment of additional forces to intensify massive cordon and search operation in the forest area of Rajouri-Poonch districts, where militants attacked two Army vehicles Thursday this week, the Director General Police R R Swain and Nagrota based 16 Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sandeep Jain on Friday rushed to spot to monitor the ongoing operations.
Officials said that DGP Swain, Corps Commander and senior officers of intelligence agencies visited the attack site and also assessed the ground situation.
The field commanders briefed officers on combing operation, which was launched on December 20 evening to track down the heavily armed militants, who are still at large, taking advantage of difficult terrain and thick forest cover in the area after attacking two army vehicles in Thanamadi area of Rajouri that led to the killing of four soldiers and injuries to two others.
Sources said that the cordon and search operation began this morning after a night cordon in the area and the same was going on till last reports came in.
An aerial monitoring operation using helicopters is also being conducted, and sniffer dogs have been pressed into service to track down the hiding militants.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) also visited the attack site and started a probe into Thursday’s incident.
The General Officer Commanding (GoC), XVI Corps, Lt Gen Sandeep Jain visited Ground Zero and reviewed the situation with top army and police officers, officials said.
“Indian Army and White Knight Corps salute the bravery and supreme sacrifice of four soldiers in Surankote yesterday while fighting the scourge of militancy,” White Knight Corps, or XVI Corps, wrote on X.
A Jammu based defence spokesperson said that an operation was being conducted in general area DKG (Dera Ki Gali), Thanamandi, Rajouri, since last night. He added Security Forces continuously operating relentlessly pursuing remaining militants.
Senior army officials said that there are 100 plus intelligence based operations every day by the Indian army in twin districts with a success rate of 98 percent despite difficult jungle terrain, hostile weather. He added due to continuous and aggressive operations security forces killed 27 militants this year, including 20-25 of foreign origin.
However, other military sources indicated that Battle-hardened and possibly Afghanistan-trained militant cadres have spread in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Rajouri areas. In the present operation, militants, whose number is believed to be between three and four, had taken positions atop the hill from where they targeted the Army vehicles, which had to slow down their speed at the blind curve and bumpy road.
“The militants seemed to have carried out a reconnaissance of the area and chose the spot where there were pits and mountains surrounding the spot,” sources maintained
People familiar with similar operations said that attack was carried out by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the killing style suggests the militants have rich combat experience.
“A large number of Pakistan-trained foreign militants are present in this area and a few days back movement was reported here,” sources said. Pertinently, 21 soldiers lost their lives in four attacks in the last 26 months in Poonch. December 21 attack was the fourth major attack in Poonch in 26 months.