Hours before an army truck was ambushed by unidentified terrorists in Jammu’s Poonch district on Thursday, resulting in the death of five soldiers, the army had cancelled the movement of a convoy on the same route, a senior government official said.
A road opening party had reportedly sanitised the route that was withdrawn at 1:30 p.m. on April 20 after the visit of a VIP was cancelled, the official said. Around 3 p.m., the solitary vehicle, travelling from Basooni in Balakote sector towards Sangiote in Poonch’s Surankote as part of a counter-insurgency patrol, was ambushed.
Another official said that the vehicle first came under fire, followed by an improvised explosive device explosion. There was no clarity on the whereabouts of the weapons being carried by the soldiers in the truck. The official added that the location where the attack took place is about six to seven kilometres from the Line of Control (LoC) and is dominated by the army’s Rashtriya Rifles (RR).
The army had initially said that five soldiers lost their lives after an army truck caught fire.
After the incident, S.L. Thaosen, the Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) who is also holding the additional charge of the Border Security Force (BSF), reviewed the prevailing security scenario. The BSF is deployed along the international border in Jammu and along a part of the LoC. The CRPF is deployed in depth areas.
Mr. Thaosen reviewed the overall deployment of the BSF and also the domination plan for forward defence locations. A senior BSF official said that a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the movement of convoys and vehicles already exists, and instructions were given to plug any infiltration from across the border.
“After a series of incidents in the Jammu region in the past two years, the threat perception has been high here. Forces have been asked to scrupulously follow SOPs,” said the BSF official.
The BSF DG held security-related discussions with Dilbag Singh, DG of the J&K Police, and other CRPF commanders based in the Rajouri and Poonch areas. He later visited army authorities in Rajouri.
Militancy in Jammu
Over the past three years, there have been continued attempts to revive militancy in the Jammu region. As reported by The Hindu on January 29, security agencies have foiled 92% of terror attacks uncovered in the Jammu division in this period. The twin terror attacks on January 1 and 2 in Rajouri’s Dangri village, where seven people including two children of the Hindu community were killed, are yet to be solved as the unidentified terrorists remain at large.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who visited Jammu on January 13 to review the security situation after the Dangri incident, said that within three months, “the security grid in every area of Jammu would be impenetrable by further strengthening it”.