AN ARMY officer, two soldiers, and a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel lost their lives in a fierce gunfight early Sunday on the Line of Control (LoC) in which three militants, who were trying to enter the Valley through the Machil sector in north Kashmir’s Kupwara, were killed, officials said. Two soldiers were also injured in the firing, they said.
Chinar Corps, the official Twitter handle of 15 Corps, identified those killed as Capt Ashutosh Kumar, Havildar Praveen Kumar and Rifleman Ryada Maheshwar. “The gallant soldiers made the supreme sacrifice in (the) line of duty at Machil sector, Kupwara on November 8. Deepest condolences to the bereaved families,” the tweet said.
The BSF said its trooper Constable Sudip Kumar (38), a resident of West Tripura, “attained martyrdom” after he “kept on fighting till his last breath with exemplary courage” and “with utter disregard to his personal safety”. It said Pakistani posts “started ceasefire violation in support of the infiltrating terrorists”.
The Army said the face-off occurred in two bursts, nine hours apart. Late Saturday night, they said, a BSF patrol spotted the militants sneaking in from across the border and challenged them. The militants opened fire in response, triggering a gunbattle in which one militant and Constable Kumar were killed.
It said the second gunfight broke out after more troops, who were rushed in to comb the area, confronted the militants. In this exchange, the officer, two soldiers and two militants were killed.
“At about 0100 hrs, a BSF patrol noticed suspicious movement near the Anti Infiltration Obstacle System (AIOS) (LoC fence) about 3.5 km from the LoC. A firefight ensued in which one terrorist was killed. A BSF soldier was also killed in action. The firefight stopped at 0400 hrs. More troops were rushed to the area and the terrorist movement was tracked by surveillance devices,” a Defence spokesperson said in Srinagar.
“Contact was re-established at 1020 hrs when heavy fire was drawn by own search parties approximately 1.5 km from the LoC. In the ensuing firefight, two more terrorists were killed. Own troops suffered three casualties and two (were) injured. The injured soldiers have been evacuated,” the spokesperson said.
The Army said it recovered two AK rifles, a pistol, a radio set, rounds of ammunition and Rs 50,000 in cash from the slain militants.
A BSF spokesperson said: “On challenging the intruders, they opened fire, which was fittingly retaliated by the BSF party. In the fierce exchange of fire, one terrorist was shot dead immediately and others managed to hide behind the cover of undulating terrain.”
The gunfight is the second on the LoC this year of such intensity after five elite paratroopers and five militants were killed in the neighbouring Keran sector of Kupwara in April.
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