The bodies of two soldiers were found in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, the sixth day of anti-militancy operations in the region.
The soldiers--identified as Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh--were part of the army’s anti-militancy operation with J&K Police in the densely forested area of Mendhar sub-division of Poonch. The two had been missing since October 14. So far nine soldiers have been killed by militants in the latest standoff.
“After a fierce fire fight with terrorists on October 14, the communication with Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh was disrupted. Relentless operations continued to neutralise the terrorists and to re-establish communication with the soldiers,” a defence spokesperson based in Jammu said. He said the anti-militancy operation is still on in the area.
No infiltrator has been caught or killed in the operation so far. The operation, which started in Thana Mandi of Poonch area on October 11, has now spread over a wide forest range falling in the two neighbouring districts of Poonch and Rajouri in the Jammu division.
This is one of the biggest operations this year in the Jammu division, where at least eight encounters have taken place since July. So far, 12 army men--including three junior commissioned officers-and 10 militants have been killed.
The authorities have closed one of the main roads connecting Poonch and Rajouri for public transport and army convoys near the forest where the encounter is on. Officials claim to have opened an alternative route for vehicles.
“Inputs regarding the presence of this group in the area have been coming for over two months now. We were following the leads and this operation is in continuity with that,” a senior police officer told ET.
Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen shot dead two vendors within a span of 30 minutes on Saturday evening, in two separate incidents in Srinagar and Pulwama districts. One of the vendors killed in the Eidgah area of Srinagar was identified as Arvind Kumar of Bihar, while the other was identified as Sagir Ahmad of Uttar Pradesh.