M A I N   N E W S

Infiltration bid foiled, 6 militants killed
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Balnoi Base (Poonch), January 28
Major James Thomas and Company Havaldar Major Sarabjeet Singh sacrificed their lives here today in a bid to prevent infiltration by a heavily armed group of Pakistan-trained terrorists. However, they shot six terrorists before laying down their lives in the encounter.

Lance Naiks, Kulwant Singh and Gurvinder Singh, belonging to 10 Sikh Light Infantry, were injured during the encounter.

The operation was still continuing and troops were combing the area around the Mandala nullah where the encounter took place.

This is the first big infiltration bid this year in the area which indicates the double standards of Pakistan, which on one hand talks of peace and at the same time launches ultras into the Indian territory.

The encounter started when troops led by Major Thomas challenged the terrorists who were wearing combat uniform of the Army. Two of the ultras were human bombs as they had wrapped explosives around their bodies perhaps to cause more casualties among the soldiers.

Major-Gen V.K. Datta, GOC of the 25th Division, said terrorists fired UBGL grenades at the officer who continued to fight even after getting wounded.

Major Thomas belonged to Bikaner in Rajasthan, while CHM Sarabjeet Singh was from Amritsar. Their families have been informed about the incident and their bodies were being sent to their native places.

Major-General Datta said Major Thomas got married in March 2002 and was survived by his wife and a child. Incidentally, he had foiled an infiltration bid almost at the same time last year when seven terrorists were shot by his troops.

The slain terrorists, belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, had most probably infiltrated from the Titrinote border post in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Titrinote village is across the Chakan-da-Bagh area on the Indian side from where the Poonch-Rawlakot (PoK) bus is expected to cross shortly.

The Army has recovered among other weapons, six AK-47 rifles, 20 UBGL grenades, 18 other grenades, two pistols, 650 AK rounds, some medicines and Rs 7,550 in Indian currency and Rs 20 in Pakistani currency.

Major-General Datta said all six terrorists were of Pakistani origin and probably two of them were commanders as they were carrying satellite phones. They were also carrying a ground-positioning device for locating their exact position on a classified map that had been recovered from their possession, he added.

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