Two more soldiers who were injured during a gunfight with militants near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir’s Kupwara district succumbed to their injuries on Monday, taking the number of army personnel killed in the operation to five.
Five militants associated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba were also killed in the operation that was launched after the Army intercepted a group of infiltrators in the Keran sector last week. It was the first major operation against infiltrators near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir this year.
“Four soldiers under the command of a Junior Commissioned Officer from the Para SF Units were heli-dropped near the LoC after information about infiltrators was received. An intense hand to hand battle ensued and all five terrorists were eliminated,” a defense spokesperson told The Indian Express.
“In this battle, however, Army lost five of its best soldiers, three on the site and two more succumbed while they were airlifted to a nearby military hospital,” the spokesperson added.
The soldiers were identified as Subedar Sanjeev Kumar, Havildar Davendra Singh, paratroopers Bal Krishan, Amit Kumar and Chhatrapal Singh.
Defence sources told The Indian Express that Army personnel deployed on the LoC intercepted a group of militants in the Jamgund forest on April 1 following which a brief exchange of fire took place. Later, a massive search was launched in the area, with all exit points sealed and additional forces deployed.
The operation was carried out amid inclement weather, eight-foot-deep snow and low visibility. A huge quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of the encounter besides communication sets which were being analysed.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the headquarters of XV Corps where Lieutenant General B S Raju paid tributes to the soldiers. Later their mortal remains were dispatched to their respective homes in an Indian Air Force plane.
“Indian Army salutes the brave hearts killed in action and shall continue to protect its borders from inimical forces at all costs at all times,” the spokesperson said.
This was the second biggest operation in the Valley in the last 48 hours. On Saturday, joint forces killed four militants affiliated to the Hizbul Mujahideen in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.