Three jawans of the Indian Army, including an officer and a JCO, were martyred in a suicide terrorist attack at an Army camp in the wee hours on Thursday at Kupwara, near the Line of Control (LOC) in North Kashmir. Two terrorists were also killed while one is suspected to have escaped.
Five soldiers were wounded, three seriously, in the attack and they were flown in a helicopter to the military hospital at Srinagar for treatment.
One stone pelter is reported to have been killed in clashes as security forces fired gun shots to scare away a mob that pelted stones to disrupt the combing operation in the area to trace a terrorist suspected to have escaped. However, official confirmation to loss of life of the civilian was awaited.
The martyred soldiers have been identified as Captain Ayush Yadav of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Subedar Bhoop Singh Gujjar, a resident of Dausa in Rajasthan and Naik Bhoota Venkata Ramanna, resident of Vizag in Andhra Pradesh.
This first terrorist attack of the year on the army camp at Panzgam in Kupwara came early in the morning at 4.30 am on the pattern of the attack at the military camp at Uri last year. The terrorists managed to breach the double fence and reach the officers quarters where Captain Yadav lost his life in the encounter.
The terrorist attack has come a day after the high level meeting of the Unified Command in which Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti directed the security forces to exercise restraint while dealing with such situations and avoid collateral damage.
During search of the area three AK47 assault rifles were recovered as a result of which the troops suspected that the third terrorist might have escaped. A massive search operation was launched in the area but residents of the nearby villages reportedly disrupted the operation by pelting stones and raising slogans. They were demanding that bodies of the slain terrorists be handed over to them for burial.
The army camp is about 100 kms away from Srinagar and lies on an infiltration route of terrorists from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK). It is suspected that the terrorists infiltrated through the LOC as snow at the high passes has started melting in the summer.
Reports said that the terrorists managed to enter the army camp by breaching the fence at the rear. Spraying bullets at the soldiers sleeping at that time, the terrorists straight reached the officers residential complex. A quick reaction team rushed there and prevented loss of more lives.
During search, nine magazines, handgrenades, 2 GPS devices, a matrix sheet and a smart phone were recovered.
Similar pattern was witnessed in the three terrorist attacks at army installations at Pathankot, Uri and Nagrota last year when 19 soldiers were martyred at Uri, 7 at Nagrota and 6 at the IAF base at Pathankot.
What was disturbing this morning was that a mob started pelting stones and brickbats at the army personnel to divert their attention and provide an opportunity to the terrorists to escape and also to disrupt movement of the army convoy to the site of terror attack.