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Saturday, 5 December 2015

From Today's Papers - 05 Dec 2015

Soldier, 2 militants killed in Handwara encounter
Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 4
A soldier of the Army’s elite counter-insurgency unit and two unidentified militants were killed in a firefight in north Kashmir’s frontier Kupwara district on Friday. The slain soldier has been identified as Naik Satish Kumar of Bhiwani, Haryana.

The firefight broke out in the Bawan Rajwar forest area in Handwara, nearly 90 km from here, after a joint party of the Army and the police were combing the thick forest area after information about the presence of four or five Lashkar-e-Toiba militants.

A search operation was jointly launched by 21 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, Special Operations Group of the J&K Police and elite para commandos to track the group which had been on the run in the forest for the past nearly two weeks.

“As the combing was going on, militants this afternoon opened fire, which was retaliated by the forces. In the ensuing gunfight, two unidentified militants were killed and two soldiers of 21 Rashtriya Rifles were injured. One of the injured soldiers later succumbed to his injuries,” a police officer said.

Defence spokesman Col NN Joshi said: “The firefight has stopped, but the combing operation is underway. We have recovered two AK rifles, one under barrel grenade launcher, two radio sets and other war-like stores from the encounter site.”

Sources said the same group of militants had a brief contact with security forces on the evening of November 21 in the same area. The militants at that time, however, managed to escape. Today’s combing was an extension of the operation that was launched on November 21.

The firefight in Handwara forests comes at a time when a massive search operation continues in the adjoining Manigam forest of Kupwara for the past three weeks. In the Manigam operation, Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles Col Santosh Mahadik was killed and the second in Command of 160 Territorial Army Lt Col K S Natt was critically wounded and is battling for his life in a Delhi hospital.
Farooq’s claims of Vajpayee offering PoK to Pak disputed
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 4
Former Union Minister Chaman Lal Gupta has disputed the statement of National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had offered to give up India’s claim over the Pakistan-held areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

Gupta, who was the Union Minister of State for Defence during the Vajpayee regime, said no sensible Indian could do so, not to say of the then Prime Minister.

The former Union Minister said legally and constitutionally Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of the country. Anybody under the oath of the Constitution could not even think of ignoring the Constitution and its bindings.

He said Farooq was a political juggler who could say anything at any time to make headlines.

At one time, Farooq had talked to Amanullah Khan about pushing out the Indian troops from Kashmir by picking up gun, he added.

“The same Dr Farooq talked about plebiscite in Kashmir to settle the dispute and the same person talked of use of force against Pakistan,” he said, adding that the creation of so-called Kashmir problem was the result of the follies of the Congress leadership and more so that of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who was interested only in the Valley.

He asked Farooq Abdullah why had he not made such a suggestion when he was a Union Minister and pleaded with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for such a solution. Farooq recently told mediapersons in Jammu that Vajpayee had agreed to hand over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to Pakistan.
Arms haul reveals sinister designs of Pak terrorists
Day after gunfight, Army’s search operation on in forest near Line of Control
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Poonch, December 4
While the Army scanned Jamia nullah and other forest areas in the Sabzian sector of Poonch district today, a huge recovery of arms, ammunition, eatables and medicines from Jamia nullah on the Line of Control revealed that Pakistani terrorists were well-prepared and had big plans to inflict maximum casualties after sneaking into Indian territory.

The Army retrieved the body of the third terrorist from the site of the encounter. The Army killed three heavily armed Pakistani terrorists on Thursday evening, but the bodies of only two of them were retrieved.

There was a group of six or seven terrorists who made an abortive intrusion bid last evening. While three of them were shot dead, the remaining terrorists were believed to have either escaped back into PoK in the darkness or were still hiding in the dense forests, said official sources.

A search operation by the Army was on. Sources said Indian soldiers on Thursday night cordoned off the entire area of Makhyari and Bomb post area, from where the terrorists tried to sneak into Indian territory.

In the wee hours today, the search operation was intensified to trace other terrorists. Reinforcements were rushed from different directions and the entire forest area was sealed to foil any attempt by militants to flee back to PoK.

The possibility of three ot four militants, believed to be members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, hiding in the forest could not be ruled out. The supplies, from arms and ammunition to dry fruit and medicines, indicated that they had sinister designs of inflicting maximum casualties to the Army after sneaking into Indian territory, said the sources.

The recoveries made from the site of the encounter included two AK-47 rifles, one AK-56 rifle, one long-barrel sniper rifle, two pistols, one under-barrel grenade launcher (UBGL), 2,005 rounds of AK ammunition, four UBGL grenades, 20 pistol rounds, five sniper rounds, one pistol holster, one pocket knife, one sleeping bag, fuel tablets, six biscuit packets, dry fruit packets, body warmer, balaclava, poncho and medicines.

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