FOUR days after an attack on a battalion headquarters of the Rashtriya Rifles in Baramulla, another attempt to storm a Rashtriya Rifles camp was foiled early Thursday when securitymen gunned down three militants after an exchange of fire in the Langate area of Handwara in north Kashmir. Colonel Rajiv Saharan, Commanding Officer of 30 RR, said they recovered three AK rifles and a large quantity of arms and ammunition after the gunbattle. He said medicines seized from the spot had Pakistan markings, indicating that the gunmen had come from across the border.
Officials said the militants fired on the sentry posts of the 30 RR camp at Langate around 5 am but were engaged by soldiers guarding the camp. Failing to sneak into the camp, the militants tried to escape but were intercepted by the Army’s Quick Reaction Team. The militants were killed after a gunbattle.
During a press brief later, Commanding Officer, Colonel Rajiv Sharang said that the arms, maps, medicines and, food items were recovered from the militants that were killed. The medicines had “Pakistani markings” on them, suggesting that the militants came from across the border. Other items recovered from the bodies are still being inspected, he said.
“Three terrorists were seen near the perimeter fencing of our camp. Our sentries challenged the terrorists who fired heavily on our sentry posts. We also retaliated and then a quick reaction team was activated so that the terrorists do not flee the area where they were spotted … We used illumination rounds to illuminate the area and killed all the three terrorists,” Col Sharang told reporters at Langate.
It was not clear if a fourth militant had escaped. After the attack, securitymen were combing the area around the camp and searches were also being conducted in the villages near Langate.
“The terrorists were challenged by our soldiers on the outer perimeter of the camp. They opened heavy fire on the sentry posts. We used illumination rounds to light up the area and all three terrorists were killed in the gunbattle,’’ Colonel Saharan said.
A senior police officer posted in the area said since the RR camp is located on the Baramulla-Handwara highway and is heavily guarded, the militants tried to sneak in from the rear-end of the camp, close to a civil residential area and apple orchards.
“Alert troopers averted the attempt to storm the camp and the three militants were killed,’’ the police officer said. He said the militants appeared to be in their early 20s. “Indian currency was also recovered from their possession. There is every likelihood that the militants crossed the LoC recently,’’ the officer said.
Meanwhile, the Army Thursday said it had foiled three infiltration bids along the LoC in Nowgam and Rampur sectors, killing an infiltrator.
The Army said the infiltration bids were made with the assistance of Pakistan Army posts located close to the LoC in north Kashmir.
“On the intervening night of October 5-6, three infiltration bids assisted by Pakistani posts were foiled by the Army,’’ the Defence spokesman said.
He said two infiltration bids were foiled in Nowgam sector of Kupwara, while another was averted in the Rampur sector of Uri. “In the Nowgam sector, one militant was killed and his body has been recovered,’’ the spokesman said.
Lt Gen D S Hooda, General Officer Commanding, Northern Command, visited Uri and reviewed security measures with local formation commanders. He was accompanied by Lt Gen Satish Dua, Corps Commander, 15 Corps.
“The Army Commander took stock of all measures taken by the Army to beat back any misadventure from across. During his interaction with officers and men on the ground, he conveyed his compliments on the high levels of operational preparedness, vigil and morale and exhorted them to remain alert for any eventuality,’’ the Defence spokesman said.
Later, Lt Gen Hooda also visited the Awantipura-based Victor Force headquarters where he was briefed by the Kilo and Victor Force commanders on the security situation.