Udhampur, Aug 5
Militants today attacked a BSF convoy on Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Udhampur killing two jawans of the border guarding force and injuring 11 others, while one of the two terrorists involved in the strike was shot dead in retaliatory fire and the other arrested.
The militant, who had taken three persons hostage in a school in a village near the area, was arrested after an operation was launched by the Army and the police, Deputy Commission, Udhampur, Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary said.
All the hostages have been freed and the operation has ended, he said.
The captured terrorist is believed to be 16 years old.
The militant strike was the first in Udhampur district in over a decade coming days after terrorists attacked Dinanagar Police Station in Gurdaspur in Punjab.
“There was firing on a BSF convoy on the highway near Samroli by militants early this morning,” Chaudhary said.
Two BSF jawans were killed and 11 personnel were injured, IG, BSF (Jammu Frontier), Rakesh Kumar said.
The militants hurled grenades and opened indiscriminate fire on the convoy when it reached Nassu belt on its way from Jammu to Srinagar, IG Jammu, Danish Rana said, adding that the BSF jawans retaliated, killing one of the two militants.
The injured jawans have been taken to a hospital, he said, adding a massive combing operation has been launched by the Army and the police in and around the area which has been cordoned off. Vehicular movement on the highway has been stopped due to the incident.
Reacting to the attack, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Those behind such attacks very well know that their terror designs won’t be running for long in India. That is why they are doing all such kinds of activities.”
The government and the security forces were doing their best to tackle such evil designs and “without a doubt the country’s respect, honour and the people’s security is the government’s topmost priority,” he said in Delhi.
Congress leader Ambika Soni said, “Ever since the new government has come in, there have been attacks happening every day. It is impossible for people to live on the border along Rajouri, Poonch and other areas that touch Pakistan.” Soni, who is Congress in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir, said her party wants to know on what basis the government was having talks with Pakistan.
“Is there accountability on the side of person, party or entity who is violating ceasefire agreements and polluting the atmosphere for talks of peace. Not at all. So we should know,” Soni said.
A convoy carrying Amarnath pilgrims had already crossed the area on the highway when the militants attacked the BSF convoy.
Lt Gen Subrata Saha, GOC, 15 Corps, expressed confidence that the Army will be able to pre-empt attempts by terrorists to infiltrate across the border into India.
So far this year, 17 terrorists have been eliminated while trying to infiltrate, he said. “So I am hopeful that this trend will continue and we will be able to maintain this, and this is important,” he said, adding that “some deft changes” have been carried out to pre-empt infiltration attempts.
Infiltration, Saha said, has been curbed due to efforts to the soldiers on the ground, improved surveillance grid and a good intelligence network.
Giving details about the incident, Chaudhary, DC, Udhampur, said one of the two militants escaped from the encounter site .
He was later arrested from a school building in a nearby hamlet.
“The hostages taken by the militant have been freed,” he said, adding that no student was present in the school in the wake of a call for a strike over the demand for setting up an AIIMS in the region.
Meanwhile, BSF Director-General D K Pathak has rushed to Jammu from Delhi to take stock of the security situation in the wake of the terror attack in Udhampur.
Officials said Pathak is rushing to Udhampur, leaving midway the five-day DG-level talks with their eastern counterparts Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) who are presently here for the annual bilateral meeting between the two sides.
Rajnath Singh speaks to BSF DG
NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said he had spoken to Border Security Force (BSF) Director-General D.K. Pathak with regard to the attack on a BSF convoy near Udhampur, and said both the BSF and CRPF have launched a counter-operation against the attackers.
“Spoke to DG BSF Shri DK Pathak regarding the attack on convoy near Udhampur. BSF and CRPF have launched an operation against the attackers,” he tweeted.
“1 terrorist has been killed by our forces and the search is on for others. My condolences to the families of jawans who died in this attack,” he added.
Omar expresses concern over attack
SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the attack on the BSF convoy was a “worrying development” as the area had remained free from militancy for a long time.
“An attack on this stretch of the NH (National Highway) after a very long time. Worrying development because area was militant free,” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
The attack, which comes days after terror struck Dinanagar of Punjab, is the first in the district in over a decade.
Udhampur was one of the four districts of Jammu and Kashmir from where the Omar Abdullah-led state government wanted the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to be revoked citing considerable improvement in the situation.
The other districts were Srinagar and Budgam in Kashmir Valley and Jammu district in Jammu region.
Attack on BSF extremely worrying: Rahul
NEW DELHI: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today described as “extremely worrying” the loss of lives in the militant attack.
“Days after the Gurdaspur attack, militant attack on a BSF convoy in Udhampur is extremely worrying,” he tweeted. The incident took place on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
“My condolences to the families of the brave jawans who were martyred,” he added. — (With inputs from agencies)