Uri anti-infiltration op ends after 8 days, Pak militant captured

The apprehended infiltrator has given his identity as 19-year-old Ali Babar Parra, resident of Okara district in Pakistan's Punjab province.

The operation was launched on September 18 after the Army noticed suspicious movement along the LoC. (File photo)

A 19-year-old Pakistani militant was caught while his accomplice was killed in Uri sector on Sunday, eight days after they sneaked in by cutting the fence along the Line of Control (LoC), the Army said on Tuesday.

Major General Varinder Vats, Baramulla-based GOC of the 19th Infantry Division, said there was an infiltration attempt by six militants on the night of September 18.

“After a firefight, four terrorists, who were on Pakistan’s side of the fence, took advantage of the darkness and dense foliage and retreated towards Pakistan’s side. The remaining two terrorists, who were in the process of crossing the fence, sneaked into the Indian side of the fence,” he said.

“Once we realised this, additional forces were mobilised to catch the two terrorists… finally, our troops got hold of them on the evening of September 25, when they were holed up in a nallah (stream). There was an encounter, and one of them was killed on the morning of September 26. His accomplice then pleaded with us to spare him… He was taken into custody,” he said.

The captured militant has been identified as Ali Babar Patra, a resident of Okara in Pakistan’s Punjab. According to Vats, Patra said he was told by his handlers to “drop a supply (of arms) in the area of Pattan”. Vats said Patra was trained at Khyber camp, Garhi Habibullah.

“But when we go by the recoveries and modus operandi, it is quite possible that these infiltrating groups had come here for some kind of a strike which went beyond just a supply drop,” he said.

Vats said the infiltration was not possible without Pakistan’s help. “The infiltration attempt was made in the area of Salamabad nallah. It is the same nallah which saw infiltration in 2016, when a suicide attack at Uri garrison took place,” he said.

“The infiltrating group was supported from Pakistan side by three porters, who had come till the LoC with the supplies… The movement of such a large group of people can’t take place without the active complicity of Pakistan Army deployed on the other side,” he said.

“What we have also seen is that there has been a lot of movement at launch pads across the LoC… It shows the desperation of Pakistan… the peace and stability in Kashmir is not to Pakistan’s liking, there is desperation to send in terrorists to create disturbance and some kind of sensational strike,” said Vats.

The firing on the LoC over the last seven days has broken the unusual calm and almost zero infiltration of the last seven months. According to officials, there have been three infiltration attempts over the last week, and at least four infiltrators, including three porters, have been killed.

Unlike the past, the militants chose the highly-guarded but relatively easy terrain of Uri border this time.

While the 10-day long operation in the Uri sector is over, villagers living in the area said they were not being allowed to move out of, or into, some of the villages close to the LoC.

“It has been 10 days since we were kept confined to our village. The Army is neither allowing anybody to come into this village, nor is it allowing anybody to move out of the village,” said Abdul Qadeer, a resident of Gawalan village in Uri.

“We are running short of supplies and ration. Even the sick can’t go out to seek treatment. They (army) are not even allowing the police inside. We raised the issue with the SDM (Sub-Divisional Magistrate) also, but to no avail,” he said.

Qadeer said the place where the infiltrators engaged with the Army is over 10-15 kms from his village.

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