Surgical strikes: Bodies taken away on trucks, loud explosions, eyewitnesses give graphic details

From classified intelligence documents accessed by The Indian Express, it appears the assault caught the Lashkar and other jihadist groups by surprise.

Written by Praveen Swami | New Delhi | Updated: October 7, 2016 1:57 pm
surgical strikes, surgical strike proof, surgical strike eyewitness, surgical strikes truth, indian army, surgical strike proved, india-pakistan, line of control, pakistan occupied kashmir, surgical strike proved, surgical strike video, surgical strike photo Surgical strikes: The eyewitnesses described brief but intense fire engagements that destroyed makeshift buildings that housed jihadists before they left for the last stage of their journeys across the LoC. (Source: PTI)

Eyewitnesses living across the Line of Control (LoC) have provided The Indian Express with graphic accounts of last week’s Indian Army special forces strikes on jihadists’ staging posts, describing how bodies of those killed in clashes before dawn on September 29 were loaded onto trucks for secret burials. The eyewitnesses also described brief but intense fire engagements that destroyed makeshift buildings that housed jihadists before they left for the last stage of their journeys across the LoC.

WATCH VIDEO: Surgical Strikes: Eyewitnesses’ Accounts Validate India’s Claim Of A Lethal Strike

Their accounts corroborate India’s claims that it carried out strikes against terror launch pads — a claim Pakistan has denied, saying, instead, that its military’s forward positions were targeted with small-arms and mortar fire.

Their accounts corroborate India’s claims that it carried out strikes against terror launch pads — a claim Pakistan has denied, saying, instead, that its military’s forward positions were targeted with small-arms and mortar fire.

They also provide, for the first time, details on some of the locations targeted in the operation, information which the governments of India and Pakistan have not made public.

Also read: Congress spells out three strikes UPA carried out

WATCH| 3 Militants Dead After Attack On Army Camp In Handwara, J&K

surgical strikes, surgical strike proof, surgical strike eyewitness, surgical strikes truth, indian army, surgical strike proved, india-pakistan, line of control, pakistan occupied kashmir, surgical strike proved, surgical strike video, surgical strike photo

Lethal strike

Five eyewitnesses were contacted by The Indian Express through their kin living on the Indian side of the LoC and questions were sent to them using a commercially available encrypted chat system. The eyewitnesses’ identities are being withheld for their safety at the request of their families.

WATCH VIDEO: Surgical Strikes: Congress Spells Out Three Strikes Carried Out By UPA

Indian journalists have no access to the Pakistani side of the LoC and the only Pakistan media reporting from these regions has been after a team of journalists were taken to some areas by the military there.

Also read: Congress backs Govt, asks for proof, says we struck too

The most detailed account of the fighting came from two eyewitnesses who visited Dudhnial, a small hamlet some 4 km across the LoC from India’s nearest forward post, Gulab, ahead of the town of Kupwara. The eyewitness reported seeing a gutted building across the Al-Haawi bridge from the hamlet’s main bazaar, where a military outpost and a compound used by the Lashkar are both sited.

Al-Haawi bridge is the last point where infiltrating groups are loaded with supplies before beginning their climb up to the LoC towards Kupwara, both eyewitnesses said.

Local residents told one of the eyewitnesses that loud explosions — possibly rounds fired from 84-mm Carl Gustav rifles — were heard from across the Al-Haawi bridge late in the night, along with intense small-arms fire. “People did not come out to see what was going on,” the eyewitness reported, “so did not see Indian soldiers but they gathered from the Lashkar people the next day that they had been attacked.”

Five, perhaps six, bodies were loaded on to a truck early next morning, and possibly transported to the nearest major Lashkar camp at Chalhana, across the Neelum river from Teetwal, on the Indian side of the LoC, the eyewitness said he was told by local residents.

Also read: In season of wartalk, CJI recalls 1965 horror – Saw feet in Army shoes being eaten by dogs

The Indian Army has made no official claim on casualties, but Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said the strikes caused “significant casualties” to “terrorists and those providing support to them.”

Friday prayers at a Lashkar-affiliated mosque in Chalhana, another eyewitness said, ended with a cleric vowing to avenge the deaths of the men killed the previous day. “The Lashkar men gathered there were blaming the Pak Army for failing to defend the border”, he said in one message, “and saying they would soon give India an answer it would never forget”.

From classified intelligence documents accessed by The Indian Express, it appears the assault caught the Lashkar and other jihadist groups by surprise. Intelligence Bureau records, one released on September 30 for a scheduled inter-agency meeting in New Delhi, spoke only of one major build-up, saying up to 40 jihadists had massed in Kél, facing India’s Machil sector. This unusual number was interpreted to be a preparation for a last-ditch infiltration push before the passes closed in early winter.

Terrorists unprepared

Elsewhere, though, nine intelligence alerts seen by The Indian Express, and issued in the week prior to the strike, flagged only small groups of five to 10 infiltrators biding their time at so-called “launch-pads”, essentially rural homes located close to military facilities, from where jihadists are guided towards India’s LoC defences.

“They were basically sitting around thinking it was business as usual”, an official familiar with the intelligence said. “Many of them would have died crossing the LoC anyway, when they hit our defences but this (the strikes) has made them feel unsafe one step back in their journeys”.

Leepa, a complex of some 25 hamlets located at the bottom of the Qazi Nag stream flowing down from the mountains above Naugam, on the Indian side of the LoC, was among the “launch-pads” targeted in the cross-LoC raids, one eyewitness said. Though the eyewitness was unable to visit the area, he said he spoken to villagers who had seen a Lashkar-occupied three-storied wooden building destroyed by Indian troops near the hamlet of Khairati Bagh.

Khairati Bagh was, until 2003, a major Lashkar base, which was slowly scaled down once the LoC ceasefire went into place and the terrorist group’s cross-LoC operations slowly declined. It remains, though, of key importance to the group, offering multiple lines of access into northern Kashmir through Chowkibal and the Bangas bowl.

The eyewitness said local residents said “three or four” Lashkar personnel were thought to have been killed in the raid, while others fled into the adjoining forests after the firing began.

Interestingly, the eyewitness said the Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s charitable wing, the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation, had held a major eye-surgery camp in Khairati Bagh in August, using the opportunity to deliver speeches on alleged atrocities by Indian soldiers in Kashmir. Fire and explosions were also heard, an eyewitness said, from the east bank of the Neelum river in Athmuqam, the district headquarters of the region.

Next to Pak Army

The fighting, the eyewitness said, appeared to have taken place near military camps along the Katha Nar stream that empties into the Neelum river just north of the town. A bustling town that serves as a hub for tourism and commerce, Athmuqam is also a major military hub, with several army facilities on the ridges the east bank of the river, sheltered from artillery bombardment.

The ghost villages of Bicchwal and Bugna, almost entirely abandoned by their residents who fled when the long jihad in Kashmir began in 1990, are barely 2 km from Salkhanna, the first village on the Pakistani side of the LoC, and the last loading point for jihadist infiltrators.

An eyewitness who visited the Neelum District Hospital in Athmuqam said he heard several Lashkar personnel had been killed and injured in the clash last Thursday but said no bodies had been buried locally.

Neelum valley residents, tied by kinship to mountain peoples on the other side of the LoC, have had a fraught relationship with jihadists operating in the area, fearing the collapse of the India-Pakistan ceasefire could lead to the return of the artillery exchanges which claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians before 2003.

In 2011, India-Pakistan military clashes led scores of Athmuqam women and children to march to the local army unit, demanding that it stop cross-border movement by jihadists.

The Pakistan Army responded by locating jihadist launch-pads alongside its camps, thus minimising contact between local residents and groups like the Lashkar. However, the massive street violence in Kashmir has led to a surge in the visibility of jihadists across the Neelum valley.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. R
    Romesh Bhattacharji
    Oct 7, 2016 at 6:29 am
    Within four hours it is impossible to hit Dudhnial and Leepa valley, which are 4 and 12 kms in a straight line from the LOC. The mountainous and forested terrain makes stealth strikes more difficult. The villages that must have been attacked were (i) Thandapani, 200 mtrs across the LOC and 5 kms before Dudhnial andlt;br/gt;(ii) Ghaipura, which is about 500 mtrs from the LOC. Swamy has spun quite a yarn.
    Reply
    1. S
      Sandeep
      Oct 5, 2016 at 4:31 pm
      In this age of visual media, it is difficult to believeslt;br/gt; in statements, unless backed by visuals. Army faces same situation.
      Reply
      1. A
        Aman
        Oct 5, 2016 at 4:51 am
        Swami is one chootiya journalist who can cook up stories full of lies. He is a blot on journalism and just knows how to keep his masters happy.
        Reply
        1. A
          Anti
          Oct 5, 2016 at 10:46 am
          What tale buck up those living in fools paradise
          Reply
          1. V
            VSingh
            Oct 6, 2016 at 2:01 pm
            All main cities of Northern Sri Lanka and 90% of the territory LTTE controlled were taken by the Indian Army and the LTTE were hiding themselves in deep forests. Kittoo (No.2) of LTTE was captured but due to political negotiations had to be released. But that's not something the we take pride in. The Indian Army did not went there as occupiers rather they were the peace keeping force. Out of 6 Tamil rebel groups, 5 had complied with peace agreement between Rebels and the Sri lankan govt. with the exception of LTTE. It was a political mis-handling by Sri Lankan govt that India had to pay for. But its good that you are accepting that the PAF was supporting the Sril Lankan Army in 'genocide' of Tamils. Indian Army does not do that, they even handed over 93,000 stan Army POWs in 1971 and none of them complained that they were badly treated during their captivity. Hope you haven't forgotten that!
            Reply
            1. V
              VSingh
              Oct 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm
              Terrorism in Punjab and was finished long ago...?? Same in most of other parts as well but how about Baluchistan, FATA, Gilgit and Baltistan???? stan Army is dropping the dead bodies of innocent civilians from helicopters in Baluchistan...thousands have dis-appeared and Pak Army cannot go to rural areas of the Baluchistan! Try and travel to any civilized nation and tell them you are from stan....see what there reaction is! Better set your house in order first than preaching others....
              Reply
              1. K
                Kamath
                Oct 5, 2016 at 1:21 am
                "Local residents told one of the eyewitnesses that loud explosions — possibly rounds fired from 84-mm Carl Gustav rifles "lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;HOW THE FK A CIVILIAN GUESS THE SIZE OF A RIFLE FROM THE SOUNDS.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Who are you INDIOTS trying to fool?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;KRAWP REPORT FED BY, you know!
                Reply
                1. K
                  Kamath
                  Oct 5, 2016 at 1:15 am
                  So for 10 days, Indics did not see the bodies taken away in trucks. INDIOTS dos not even hear the explosions. Probably the sound waves went westward due to prevailing severe winds(LOLaby alibi) and it went around earth 5 million times and then reached the LODI MARG office.
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    Kamath
                    Oct 5, 2016 at 1:12 am
                    Yes yes. I see bodies of Indian Army taken away in trucks. I hear explosions, deafening. I believe now, really.
                    Reply
                    1. P
                      Prateik
                      Oct 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm
                      Breaking News: Praveen Swami was paid by AW to plant this news in IE. IE should expel him today.
                      Reply
                      1. P
                        Prateik
                        Oct 5, 2016 at 2:29 pm
                        EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE OF SURGICAL STRIKE ISSUED BY DGMO INDIA:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Search 'g9pBdOASbsU' in YouTube
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          Doba Dodu
                          Oct 7, 2016 at 2:56 am
                          7.9 Shri V.P. Singh, former Prime Minister of India, deposition dated 5th November 1996:-� “…..the first batch of training of the militants was done in 1983 under the Congress Government. I will not disclose the place where this training was held. It was done in Chakarata. Then in 1984, weapons were given to all the militant groups. The Camps were set up in Tamil Nadu. Monetary help was given. MGR in his statement in the embly of Tamil Nadu said that Rs.4 crores aid has been given by him to Tamil Militant Groups......"
                          Reply
                          1. D
                            Doba Dodu
                            Oct 7, 2016 at 9:06 am
                            INDIA THE BREEDING GROUND FOR LTTE TERRORISTS! The training by former Indian military, the financial istance given by the Indian Government, the logistics support given by Tamil Nadu to these militant groups makes India an accompli to murder for every act of terror committed by the LTTE over 3 decades. Prabakaran had only a handful of school/college drop outs and Anton Balasingham but it was India that trained them into professional killers. Ironically, the same men that India trained ended up killing Indian soldiers of the IPKF in Sri Lanka. LTTE freely used Tamil Nadu as its second home. We continue to wonder throughout 30 years how many living in Sri Lanka’s North are actually Sri Lankan citizens. Surprisingly, Indian Government even filed a special leave peion (SLP) before the Supreme Court seeking to restrain the Jain Commission from going into any aspect dealing with the role of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and to exclude the period from 1981 to June 1987(this period covers India’s training of LTTE and other militants upto the signing of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord in July 1987). Let us look one of the affidavits before this Jain Commission:- 7.9 Shri V.P. Singh, former Prime Minister of India, deposition dated 5th November 1996:-� “…..the first batch of training of the militants was done in 1983 under the Congress Government. I will not disclose the place where this training was held. It was done in Chakarata. Then in 1984, weapons were given to all the militant groups. The Camps were set up in Tamil Nadu. Monetary help was given. MGR in his statement in the embly of Tamil Nadu said that Rs.4 crores aid has been given by him to Tamil Militant Groups......"
                            Reply
                            1. D
                              Doba Dodu
                              Oct 7, 2016 at 9:04 am
                              India was jealous of Sri Lanka's economic developments after 1977 and it's cooperation with western countries! Indra hi could not bare it. It was the Insdian Government who created Prabakaran and the Hindu Tamil Tiger Terrorist to destroy Sri Lanka! The first incident was when Hindu Tamil Terrorist killed 13 Soldies in Jaffna? There is no Sinhala Army! It is a myth! In SRI Lankan Army there were and there are Tamils and Sinhalese.
                              Reply
                              1. D
                                Doba Dodu
                                Oct 7, 2016 at 9:33 am
                                Sad, I gave you a reply, but I'm sure the moderator will not post it, because he TOO an Indian!
                                Reply
                                1. D
                                  Doba Dodu
                                  Oct 7, 2016 at 2:54 am
                                  Terrorist Osama Bin Laden was created by US! Terrorist Prabakaran was created by India!
                                  Reply
                                  1. D
                                    Doba Dodu
                                    Oct 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm
                                    When we tell the truth you try to label us as wala or leftist' because you do not wants to hear the truth! Truth is hurting! You send over 90,000 jawans to finish Hindu Tamil Tiger Terrorists in SRI LANKA! You could do nothing there! In fact those Tiger Terrorists are the real product of India. Initially, India aided and abetted them! They killed thousands of innocents in SRI LANKA! When the bite their own finger, India, by killing your Former PM, you turned against them!
                                    Reply
                                    1. D
                                      Doba Dodu
                                      Oct 6, 2016 at 3:25 pm
                                      The IPKF was never welcome in SRI LANKA by the SRI Lankan Government! It was forced by India on this tiny little Island! However, IPKF never realised the battlefield capabilities of the LTTE until it launched Operation Pawan in the second week of Oct. 1987 to capture Jaffna. The IPKF leadership was confident of evicting the LTTE from Jaffna within three days. In fact, the IPKF was of the opinion that the LTTE was nothing more than an irritant, which could not pose a threat to the IPKF’s conventional fighting capability. It planned to rapidly advance from Palaly to Jaffna. Indian planners believed they had sufficient infantry, armour and artillery to meet any eventuality. But, it was obviously clueless about the fighting capabilities and tactics of the LTTE, in spite of having trained and armed the outfit. The IPKF did not even bother at least to consult the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) regarding the impending operation, though it could have easily done so. Gen. de Silva explained how the initial IPKF plan to seize Jaffna had gone awry. LTTE snipers targeted Indian officers, who led the infantry from the front. The only difference was unlike their counterparts, the Indian officers were in full uniform, with some of them wearing slouch hats. LTTE snipers easily recognised them, causing an unprecedented number of casualties among the officer corps. A stunned IPKF leadership quickly realised it had been blind to ground realities and deceived by those who conveniently failed to brief them on the LTTE’s real capabilities. The LTTE effectively used a range of improvised explosive devices and snipers to cause heavy losses on the IPKF, which struggled to come to terms with Tiger tactics. At the time Operation Pawan got underway, the IPKF had approximately 6,000 personnel deplo in the Jaffna peninsula. The IPKF estimated the total strength of the LTTE in the Jaffna peninsula between 2,000 to 2,500. But, the IPKF strategists remained confident of crushing the LTTE in case of a confrontation. The Oct. 12, 1987 battle claimed the lives of nearly 40 personnel, whereas the SLA lost 33 and about 200 wounded in the first phase of Operation Liberation. The LTTE proved that it was better than the high flying 54th air borne ault force commanded by Maj. Gen. Hakirat Singh. After a series of bers at the expense of fighting forces, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 54 Division Singh was replaced.The IPKF realised the difficult position it was in. One of the largest armies in the world found itself in an unenviable situation. The LTTE proved beyond any doubt that it was better than its Indian trainers. LTTE tactics demoralised the IPKF, which never intended to engage in combat operations against the Sri Lankan Tamils India had trained and armed.
                                      Reply
                                      1. D
                                        Doba Dodu
                                        Oct 6, 2016 at 2:51 pm
                                        This Is how Indians twist the truth - like your 'Fake Surgical Strike'! It was Indians who created Hindu Tamil Tiger Terrorists who were aided and abetted by India! They killed thousands of innocent Sri Lankans for over 25 years! IPKF was defeated by Tamil Tigers convincingly! India turned against them only when the LTTE killed their former PM. Until such time India was aiding them in all their killings!
                                        Reply
                                        1. D
                                          Doba Dodu
                                          Oct 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm
                                          You can tell that terrorism in Punjab was finished long ago to your self closing your eyes! We know you killed how many innocent Sheik! But the separatists are still there! You are trying to do the same thing in Kashmir, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, am and Nagaland but will never be able to come over it! You, Indians have no right to talk about the human right. The Jaffna hospital macre occurred on October 21 and 22, 1987, during the Sri Lankan Civil War, when troops of the Indian Army entered the premises of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and killed between 60-70 patients and staf. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the government of Sri Lanka, and independent observers such as the University Teachers for Human Rights and others have called it a macre of civilians. So, killing of innocents is in Indian blood!
                                          Reply
                                          1. Y
                                            Yakobi
                                            Oct 5, 2016 at 1:46 am
                                            Every thing is possible in faith of hinduisom, fabrication by faith.
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments