M A I N   N E W S

Ultras strike at Samba
Photojournalist among 8 killed
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Tribune News Service

Kaily Mandi (Samba), May 11
In an election year and just ahead of annual Amarnath yatra, heavily-armed Pakistani militants struck in a big way today killing six people including a politician, two soldiers and a senior photojournalist of a local daily besides injuring six others, two of them critically.

In an encounter that lasted for about 12 hours, security forces eventually killed two militants using heavy mortar after rescuing five people, who were held hostage by the militants in a house.

The militant attack has raised questions on the BSF’s claim to have foiled an infiltration bid by Pakistani militants in Bainglad area close to the international border in Samba sector on Thursday night.

The militants killed state general secretary of Indian National Democratic Party (INDP) Hoshiyar Singh, his wife Shashi Bala, 6 Garhwal Rifles soldier Atul Negi, 20 JAK Rifle Lance Havildar Aziz Mohammed, senior photojournalist of a local daily Ashok Sodhi and a woman Madhu Sharma besides injuring six others, including a Major of Territorial Army Mukul Chauhan and SP (Operations) Mubasir Latifi.

The gun battle, which started at 6 am came to an end when 6 Garhwal Rifles of the Army, the BSF and the police launched the final assault at 5.30 PM killing the militants.

Defence PRO Lt-Col S.D. Goswami told The Tribune, “Security forces eliminated the two militants and the operation has been called off.”

Earlier, striking in a big way in the plains of Jammu after a gap of six years, militants in Army fatigues entered the house of Hoshiyar Singh this morning at around 6 am in Kaily Mandi and opened fire killing him and his wife.

Eyewitness Virinder Singh said this morning he woke up to gunshots and being aware of the intrusion bid in Bainglad he along with other villagers immediately alerted the local police and soldiers in nearby Army units.

“Acting upon the information, security forces rushed to the spot and cordoned off the entire area,” he added.

After killing Hoshiyar Singh and his wife besides injuring their married daughter and her mother-in-law Darshana Devi, who had come from Amritsar, militants ran towards the house of Suresh Singh (Hoshiyar’s driver).

Another eyewitness said, from Suresh Singh’s house militants started firing at the troops, which by then laid a cordon around it.

A police officer said militants after critically injuring Suresh’s tenant Madhu Sharma, held his wife, children, mother, brother and sister as hostages, adding that Madhu Sharma later succumbed to her injuries.

They resorted to indiscriminate fire from their automatic weapons and hurled grenades on the troopers, he said.

A vehicle of a television news channel too was hit by a grenade.

However, after rescuing the hostages, the Army used heavy mortar killing the two militants. The security forces launched a “mopping-up operation” searching the area, he added.

According to the Army, Pakistan’s ISI has moved over 400 militants in different launching pads on other side of the IB.

Earlier talking to The Tribune, DGP Kuldeep Khuda said, “Five people including a couple, a photojournalist and a soldier have been killed while two others have been injured.”

“It is quite possible that some of them might have sneaked during their intrusion bid in Bainglad area on Thursday night and carried out the attack this morning,” he added.

It may also be mentioned here that the Tiger Division during the intervening night of May 9 and 10 had seized a huge quantity of arms and ammunition including 10 kg of RDX in Sujani forests of Samba district.




Sodhi chose work over food

Samba, May 11
“Keep my loaf there. I will eat it later” were the last words of local english daily lensman Ashok Sodhi, who died in the fierce encounter between security forces and militants here, to his colleagues.

Refusing his collegues’ request to have breakfast with them, Sodhi choose to capture the ongoing encounter amid flying bullets in Rakh Ambh Batali village in the district today.

“Keep my loaf there. I will eat it later. Do not eat my loaf, which I would eat after a taking a fine shot,” Sodhi told his colleagues.

In a twist of fate, instead of capturing the action, the lensmen fell prey to a militants’ bullet which pierced through his head, killing him.

With an illustrious career spanning 25 years in photo journalism, 45-year-old Sodhi is survived by his wife and daughter. — PTI




8 jawans killed as Army vehicle falls into Chenab

Jammu, May 11
Eight army jawans were today killed when an Army vehicle fell into the Chenab in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.

A vehicle of the 8 Rashtriya Rifles was on its way to Doda town when it skidded off the road and rolled into the river at Ghat area in the afternoon, officials said.

Three jawans died on the spot and two were injured critically and later died in the hospital. Three others drowned in the river and their bodies were yet to traced, they told PTI.

This is third consecutive incident in which vehicles have skidded on the roads in Doda-Kishtwar in the past four days killing 48 persons and injuring 27.

Thirty-six persons died and five were critically wounded when a bus fell into the Chenab in Kishtwar district on May 8. Four people were killed and 20 others injured when a matador fell into deep gorge in Bharat area of Doda district on May 10. — PTI




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