Two officers and five jawans were killed on Tuesday after militants in police uniform attacked an army artillery unit in Nagrota on the outskirts of the city, said Lt Colonel Manish Mehta, Defence PRO. He said all three militants were killed in the encounter. There was also a hostage crisis after the militants stormed the 166 artillery unit. Till the last report came in, however, all the hostages have been rescued. “Three heavily armed terrorists in police uniform entered in officers’ mess building complex, fired heavily and attacked with grenades. 12 jawans, two ladies and two children were inside. There was hostage-like situation which was successfully neutralised,” added Mehta.
A senior Army officer said that heavily-armed militants in police uniform stormed the 166 artillery unit, opening indiscriminate fire. An army officer and two other personnel were killed while several others were injured in the attack, the senior officer said.
Nagrota is the headquarters of the Army’s 16 corps. In view of the attack, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been closed for traffic in the area.The district administration has closed all schools in Nagrota tehsil as a precautionary measure. “We have ordered closure of all schools and education institutions in Nagrota tehsil in view of the terror attac,” Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said. An alert has been sounded in Jammu city.
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In a separate incident, a BSF DIG and four other security personnel were today injured in a blast while carrying out mopping-up operations in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir. Four BSF personnel and a policeman were injured in the blast at the site, DC Samba Sheetal Nanda said. In Delhi, a BSF spokesman said BSF men faced fire from across the IB when anti-infiltration operations were being summed up.
The BSF DIG on the spot supervising operations and two other constables sustained injuries, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attacks on security forces in Nagrota and Samba, saying such “dastardly” acts would not lower the resolve to fight terrorism. “Condemn the terror attacks in Nagrota and Samba today. Such dastardly acts won’t lower our resolve to fight terrorism,” the Chief Minister was quoted as saying on the twitter handle of her party PDP.
She expressed sympathies with the three army men who laid down their lives while fighting the militants. “Pained at loss of three Army men in Nagrota attack. My heartfelt sympathies with the families of these brave officials,” she said.
Responding to the terror attack, Home Secretary R K Singh said this is a “message” sent by Pakistan’s newly appointed army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to India. “We need to take note of the fact that this is the (Pakistan) new Army chief sending a message. His policy will be same as followed by the predecessor…We (also) need to send across a message to him,” he said. “India will hit back harder every time it is targeted,” he said. The BJP MP’s remarks came after militants in police uniform attacked an Army artillery unit in Nagrota, killing three Army personnel, including an officer, and leaving several others injured.
Singh said Pakistan continued to “bleed” India through such terrorist attacks, adding that the recently conducted PoK surgical strike by the Indian Army was not a “one-off” event. “It was a statement of policy…Our policy is that we will hit you back every time you hit us. We will hit you back harder. So, I think a couple of more time we hit them back, it will certainly settle in their mind,” he said.
The BJP leader added that India needed to “follow up on its policy of imposing cost” and that the “Army should revisit the security procedure in general, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.”
(With inputs from PTI)