3 militants, civilian killed in attack on Army camp
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, November 24
Three militants, who tried to storm an Army base close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district, were killed in a six-hour-long gunfight. A civilian working at the camp was also killed while two Army men, including an officer, were injured in the gunfight.
This was the second unsuccessful attempt by militants to storm an Army base in Tangdhar area this year. Srinagar-based defence spokesman Lt Col NN Joshi said a search operation was under way in the area.
Defence sources said a group of heavily armed militants lobbed grenades and opened fire at a 3/1 GR battalion at Kulsuri Ridge in Tangdhar sector, around 135 km from here, around 7 am today. They made an unsuccessful attempt to sneak into the camp.
“The group probably entered from the Sanjoi side of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) last night. The LoC is only 5 km from the encounter site. Initial indications suggest it was a pre-planned attack,” a Defence official said.
“A civilian employee of the Military Engineering Service (MES) contractor and a Junior Commissioner Officer were injured,” sources said. The civilian, identified as 22-year-old Tanweer Ahmed, succumbed to his injuries later. The JCO was taken to the Kupwara military hospital where his condition was stated to be stable.
An oil dump situated there caught fire during the exchange of fire and two vehicles of the Army and a hut were damaged.
The Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of the Army and elite commandos were rushed to the area to take on the militants. A Deputy Commander of 104 Brigade, a Colonel-rank officer, led from the front and had a narrow escape during the gunfight. “A bullet grazed his ear, causing a minor injury. After being treated, he again led the operation,” sources said.
The militants later tried to take shelter in residential houses near the camp. “Three militants were killed during the operation and three assault rifles were seized from their possession,” they said. Combing continued in the area to ensure that no militant was hiding there.
The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the attack. A caller who identified himself as spokesperson of the outfit Muhammad Hasan Shah told a Srinagar-based news agency that the militants of the group stormed the camp. The militants inflicted heavy damage on the forces, he claimed.
On May 31 this year, four militants were killed after they crossed the LoC and were intercepted by soldiers near Bakhiyan village, close to the Army’s 104 Infantry Brigade headquarters.
Beijing shows might in South China Sea
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 25
The Chinese navy has recently completed a series of ‘realistic confrontation training exercises’ in the South China Sea (SCS) which could set the tone for renewed tension in the disputed waters.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fielded a new type of ‘submarine’. However, it is not clear if the vessel was one of the new Type 94 Jin-class nuclear submarines. Multi-type of destroyers and frigates carrying anti-submarine helicopters were part of the exercise.
Sources said the vessel was a submarine submersible ballistic nuclear (SSBN)—- in other terms, a nuclear-powered sub capable of carrying nuclear missiles. This was second such exercise within weeks.
Police await Centre’s nod to prosecute Brigadier
Charges of abduction, murder invoked against the Army officer
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, November 25
The Jammu and Kashmir Police have invoked charges of abduction, murder and disappearance of evidence against a brigadier-level officer of the Army, accused of the custodial death of a chemist from the Rawalpora locality of Srinagar in 2002.
In its status report, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the police has told the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that the investigation into the 14-year-old case had been completed and the Central government nod for prosecution of accused Brigadier Kishore Malhotra was awaited.
Brigadier Malhotra was a Major in the 35 Rashtriya Rifles in 2002 when the incident happened.
The officer was subjected to four days of sustained ‘custodial interrogation’ by the SIT between October 6 and 9 this year, the report accessed by The Tribune has further revealed.
On November 23, a single bench of the High Court, while hearing a petition in the case, asked the police to file the latest status report about the investigation by Tuesday and ‘also report that the charge sheet has been filed’.
Manzoor Ahmad Dar, a resident of Rawalpora locality on the outskirts of Srinagar, was arrested by the Army on January 19, 2002. His wife Jana, in her testimonies before the courts, has maintained that an Army contingent led by Kishore Malhotra, then a Major with the 35 Rashtriya Rifles, had raided their house in the dead of the night.
Later, a judicial inquiry by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Budgam, had also ‘substantiated’ that Manzoor was ‘picked up by armed forces personnel of the 35 Rashtriya Riffles during the intervening night of 18/19 January 2002’.
“The custodial disappearance has occurred near about 14 years ago, which clearly indicates that the disappeared person could have died in custody of the 35 RR and accordingly, Section 302 of the RPC (murder) is invoked,” the SIT submitted in its status report, adding that offence under Section 364 (abduction) is already established against the accused Army officer.
“On the direction of the apex court and the High Court of J&K, accused Major Kishore Malhotra, now Brigadier, appeared before the SIT on October 6, 7, 8 and 9, 2015. During custodial questioning, the accused did not admit to the custody of the victim, nor lead to the recovery of the body (of Manzoor). Accordingly, offence under 201 of the RPC is invoked,” it added.
Stating that since direction of the Supreme Court was not to arrest the accused Brigadier during questioning, the SIT has further told the High Court that the “investigation of the case stands closed and charges under Section 364 (abduction), 302 (murder) and 201 (disappearance of evidence) of the RPC invoked.”
It added that the case file along with the records had been sent to the government for accord of sanction to prosecute the accused Brigadier.
In a First, INS Vikramaditya to Host Combined Commanders' Conference Next Month
New Delhi: The Combined Commanders' Conference of the three services will be held next month onboard India's latest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in Kochi, which will the first venue outside the national capital to host the crucial defence meet.
The move came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his address at the Combined Commanders' Conference in Delhi last October, suggested that the armed forces could organize such conferences on ships, or in forward area cantonments or air-bases, instead of only in New Delhi.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the annual Combined Commanders' Conference onboard India's latest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on December 15," defence sources said.
Though the conference was originally scheduled to be held in October, it was postponed due to the Bihar elections.
Besides the Prime Minister, the conference will be attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and other senior members of the Cabinet.
The Combined Commanders' Conference, also known as the Unified Commanders' Conference, is crucial as national defence policy, doctrine and operational challenges are discussed in detail.
Exhorting the armed forces to be prepared for a "future where security challenges will be less predictable...threats may be known, but the enemy may be invisible," PM Modi had said last time "full-scale wars may become rare, but force will remain an instrument of deterrence and influencing behaviour, and the duration of conflicts will be shorter".
Three militants, civilian killed in Kupwara army camp attack
The militants attacked from the rear side of the camp at 6.15 AM, which resulted in few vehicles catching fire, defence sources said.
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Three militants were killed when they tried to storm a camp of 3/1 Gorkha Rifles at the border town of Tanghdar in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Wednesday. A civilian injured in the attack later succumbed to his injuries.
The Army’s Para Commandos neutralised the militants who were part of a fidayeen squad, said officials. Militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman of the outfit said the militants had caused “heavy damage” to the Army.
Defence spokesman Lt Col N N Joshi said: “The searches are still on. Three AK rifles were recovered from the possession of slain militants.’’ He said the militants couldn’t sneak inside the camp, but fired some grenades that caused fire in the part of the camp where oil was stored.
Five months ago, the Army killed four armed militants in the town that is otherwise considered free of militancy due to large presence of Army personnel on account of its proximity to the LoC. Sources said Wednesday’s attack left the army worried as militants had managed to come close to the camp.
Officials said that around 6 am, three heavily armed militants tried to enter the camp located in the main Tanghdar town. They attacked an army officer and a civilian employee of Army’s Military Engineering Service who were in the camp’s generator room. Both were evacuated to hospital, where 22-year-old Tanveer Ahmad, a resident of Tanghdar, succumbed to his injuries. The injured Junior Commissioned Officer is undergoing treatment at the Army hospital at Dragmulla Kupwara.
Sources said the militants approached the camp from the rear side, placed some IEDs near the camp and fired grenades towards the oil depot that caused a fire in the camp. Some barracks and vehicles were damaged in the fire. The fire, officials said, was later brought under control.
The Army’s Quick Action Team responded swiftly and engaged the militants who took cover in the nearby Darshik forests. Para Commandos were called and the militants were killed after an eight-hour gunfight.
Officials said it was possible that the militants had crossed the LoC through the Kalsuri range and then approached the camp from its rear side.
A senior Army officer said Wednesday’s attack was an attempt to replicate last year’s attack at Mohura in Uri near the LoC when militants attacked an artillery base killing eight soldiers, including an officer, and three policemen. All the six militants were killed in that attack.