What has happened?
- A junior commissioned officer (JCO) was among five Army personnel killed in a gunfight with a group of terrorists holed up in a hideout at Surankote in the frontier Jammu district of Poonch on Monday,
- Making this the highest number of casualties suffered by the armed forces in a single encounter in J&K this year.
- By evening, the operation to smoke out the terrorists had spread beyond the initially targeted hideout in the forested Chamrer area of Surankote to adjoining Bhangai village of Rajouri district.
- “The operational area is the same. The terrorists moved to the other frontier location to possibly escape being hemmed in by the advancing security forces,” an official said.
- The slain JCO, Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh, and two of the four soldiers killed in action – Naik Mandeep Singh and sepoy Gajjan Singh – were from Punjab.
- The other two, sepoys Saraj Singh and Vaisakh H, were from UP and Kerala respectively.
- Since January, eight Army personnel have died fighting terrorists in Jammu division alone.
- Three others were killed in ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control.
Poonch & Rajouri
- Over the past nine months, the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri have seen heightened terrorist activity, leading to several encounters with security forces.
- On August 6, two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were killed in an encounter in Bhangai village of Rajouri.
- Prior to this, on July 8, two heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists were gunned down as the Army foiled an infiltration bid in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri.
- Two soldiers were killed in firing by terrorists in the Dadal area.
- On August 9, a joint team of security forces busted a terrorist hideout at Mendher in Poonch district and seized a cache of arms and ammunition, including AK-47 rifles and China-made pistols and grenades.
- Ten days later, a JCO and a terrorist were killed in an encounter in the Kangota area of Rajouri’s Thanamandi tehsil.
- There has been a surge in targeted killing of civilians which includes prominent citizens and non-locals in the Valley.
- Last week, Makhan Lal Bindroo, a well-known pharmacist in Srinagar was killed by terrorists.
- The Resistance Front (TRF), which the police believe is a front for the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), has claimed responsibility for the killing.
- J&K police said last week that 28 civilians have been killed by terrorists this year, seven in the last week alone.
- “Out of 28, five persons belong to the local Hindu/Sikh community and two non-local Hindu labourers,” police said.
- The killings come at a time when a number of Union ministers have been visiting the Union Territory as part of the government’s outreach programme.
- The Centre had told Parliament earlier this year that terrorist violence in J&K has reduced significantly after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
- “The number of terrorist incidents has reduced during 2020 by 59% as compared to 2019 and 32% up to June, 2021 in comparison with the corresponding period up to June, 2020,” it had said.
Q) The Hemis National Park is famous for?
- Golden Eagle
- Snow Leopard