Maj critical; 3 soldiers, woman killed in Shopian terror strike
Army chief flies to Srinagar, CM asks two Ministers to attend wreath-laying ceremony
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU, Feb 23: While a critically wounded Major is battling for life at a Military Hospital in Srinagar, three soldiers and a civilian woman got killed and five soldiers, including a Lt. Colonel, sustained injuries in the current year’s first terror strike on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday in Shopian area of South Kashmir.
Highly placed authoritative sources told STATE TIMES that a unit of Rashtriya Rifles swooped on Kungnoo village in Shopian district in the wee hours on Thursday after learning about the movement of some militants. Without getting into contact with any militant, the security forces were returning to their camp around 0200 hours when the militants in ambush near Mool Chitragam ambushed their cavalcade. A red-colour Tata Sumo vehicle suffered the brunt of the militant strike even as they targeted all the four vehicles.
Three soldiers got killed and five others, including one Lt. Colonel and one Major, were injured. The civilian driver of the Tata Sumo sustained minor injuries. All the injured were airlifted and rushed to 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar. Late on Thursday, doctors attending on the injured soldiers said that all of them, excluding Major Amardeep Singh, were stable.
Dr Anand, a neurosurgeon was flown from Command Hospital of Udhampur to Srinagar where the Army doctors were also joined by Dr Arif and Dr Yousuf of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS). One of the three doctors told STATE TIMES that Major Amarjeet’s condition was “extremely critical” even as the best possible medical treatment was provided to him on time. He said that the team of three neurosurgeons removed the badly damaged parts of the brain area and carried out other surgical procedures. However, the blood pressure of the officer was not stabilising to the satisfaction of the doctors.
Three soldiers killed in the ambush were identified as Lance Naik Ghulam Mohi-ud din Rather, Sepoy Vikas Singh Gurjar and Sepoy Sreejith. While as Ghulam Mohiud-din, a local soldier, would be laid to rest in his ancestral village, bodies of two more soldiers would be despatched by a special airplane for last rites in their respective places of residence on Friday.
Sources said that 50-year-old Taja Begum w/o Ghulam Mohiuddin was hit by a stray bullet that pierced a glazed window and left her dead inside her home, close to the site of encounter.
In the evening, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat flew from Delhi to Srinagar to take a review of the latest obtaining security scenario, militants’ and the peoples’ behaviour and the security forces’ coordination with Police and intelligence agencies. A major counterinsurgency operation, according to sources, was being planned to flush out militants in Shopian-Kulgam-Pulwama belt of South Kashmir.
Gen Rawat would be among the senior Army, Police and paramilitary forces officers to attend the wreath-laying ceremony of the three soldiers at headquarters 15 Corps at 0830 hours on Friday. Director General of Jammu and Police Dr Shesh Pal Vaid would be represented by IGP Kashmir Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani and other senior officers as he would not be able to fly to Srinagar and reach there at 0830 hours.
Sources revealed to this correspondent that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, on way to Saudia Arabia from New Delhi for a pilgrimage (Umrah) called Chief Secretary B.R. Sharma and asked him to communicate to two Cabinet Minister, namely Minister of Law and Rural Development Abdul Haq Khan and Minister of Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, to attend the wreath-laying ceremony of the three soldiers at Badami Bagh cantonment on Friday morning. Both the Ministers are currently in Kashmir.
Meanwhile Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility of the attack and claimed that five soldiers were killed and several others injured in the successful ambush.
Residents said that the funeral prayers and other last rites of the woman were conducted peacefully but hours after that clashes occurred at several places between the demonstrators and security forces. They alleged that the soldiers roughed up civilians and caused extensive damage to over a dozen civilian vehicles parked on the streets.