An Army soldier, heading home for Eid, was abducted and killed by militants in Pulwama Thursday while another soldier and two militants were killed in a gunbattle in the forests of Bandipora.
Police sources said a soldier of the Rashtriya Rifles, identified as Aurangzeb, was abducted soon after he left his camp to head home to Poonch. Sources said Rashtriya Rifles personnel, posted at Shadimarg in Pulwama, stopped a car that was on its way to Shopian. They told the car driver to drop the soldier at Shopian.
When the car reached Kalampora village, it was intercepted by militants who then abducted the soldier. Police later found his bullet-riddled body in Gossu village of Pulwama. “Abducted jawan’s body found. Case registered and investigations initiated by Pulwama police,” a police spokesman said.
Earlier, Pulwama SSP Mohammad Aslam Chowdhary told The Indian Express: “He was on leave and had left for home. That is all we know. Why he boarded a passenger vehicle, what were the circumstances, only the Army can tell.”
In March last year, militants abducted an Army officer, Lt Umar Fayaz Parray, from Shopian and killed him. He was in Shopian to attend the wedding of a cousin when militants barged into the house and abducted him.
Last September, militants dragged out BSF’s Mohammad Ramzan Parray from his house in Hajin and killed him. In November last year, militants abducted soldier Irfan Ahmad Dar from his home in Sazan in Shopian. His bullet-riddled body was found later. Dar was posted in Gurez and was home for vacation.
Meanwhile, in Bandipora, troops combing the forests since June 9 came across militants Thursday morning. A soldier was killed in the gunbattle that followed. “Two terrorists were killed and a soldier was martyred in the operation,” Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told The Indian Express. “The search operation in the area is still on.”
Troops first engaged the militants on June 9 evening but after a brief gunbattle, the militants escaped, taking advantage of the dark, sources said. The Army called in reinforcements and began combing the forests. There were four exchanges, but each time the militants escaped.
On Thursday, two militants were killed. The Army suspects that some more may be hiding in the forests. Sources said there was information that a big group of militants had infiltrated the Valley from the Gurez sector and had taken the forest route to Bandipora.
The Valley has seen a spike in infiltration attempts by militants in the last one month. On June 10, six militants were killed when the Army foiled an infiltration bid by militants in the Keran sector of Kupwara district.