Trapped between forests and a hill on one side and a deep ditch on the other, security force personnel, locked in a seemingly endless encounter in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, battle terrorists who have no shortage of weapons , ammunition or food. the location of the country.
The personnel also face an uphill battle, literally, as the terrorists are holed up in a cave on top of the hill, and the only route there is a narrow route with a steep slope on one side. Highly placed sources in the security sector. The armed forces told NDTV this. It was this path and the visibility the cave provided that cost the forces the lives of Colonel Manpreet Singh, Major Aashish Dhonchak and Deputy Superintendent of Police Himayun Bhat.
The sources said the armed forces for the first time received intelligence about terrorists hiding in the Gadul forests of Kokernag on Tuesday evening. A search was launched, but the terrorists could not be found. The joint team of army and police personnel subsequently received information that the terrorists were on the top of a hill.
In the early hours of Wednesday, the troops decided to attack the terrorists. “The path that the forces have to take to reach the top of the hill is quite challenging. It is very narrow and there are mountains and a dense forest on one side and a deep ditch on the other side. The personnel started the climb at night and the pitch black made it worse,” said a source.
As the troops approached the cave, the terrorists got a clear view of them and started shooting indiscriminately. Trapped in the narrow path, without cover and with a very real risk of falling, the staff had nowhere to go and no way to retaliate.
Colonel Singh, the commander of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles, company commander Major Dhonchak – both of whom were awarded the prestigious Sena Medal (gallantry) – and deputy SP Bhat were injured in the fire.
The hail of bullets and the challenging path made their extraction – both by other personnel and by helicopter – impossible and they could not be taken to a hospital until the morning, the sources said.
It has been almost 72 hours since the encounter began and the forces have surrounded the hill. Explosives are dropped using Heron drones purchased in Israel, rocket launchers are used and personnel fire, but the army has still not been able to gain control of the area due to its challenging geography, the military said. sources.
‘Not ordinary terrorists’
According to the sources, the number of terrorists is likely to be more than the two-three cited. Among them is Uzair Khan, who joined Lashkar-e-Taiba last year. They said he has complete information about the area, from which the terrorists are taking advantage.
“Ordinary terrorists cannot drag out an encounter for that long. They are very well trained and have good weapons. It is also possible that an informant deceived the armed forces or someone leaked their movements from the security forces. Whatever it is. Ending this operation has become a major challenge,” the source said.
One soldier is still missing and at least two personnel have been injured. In a post on
#KokernagEncounterUpdate: Rtd Police/Army officers should avoid the “ambush hypothesis”. It is a specific, input-based operation. Operations are underway and all 2-3 captured terrorists will be neutralized: ADGP Kashmir
— Kashmir Zone Police (@KashmirPolice) September 15, 2023
“Retired police and military officers should avoid the ‘ambush hypothesis’. It is a specific, input-based operation. The operation is underway and all two to three captured terrorists will be neutralized,” he said.