Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on May 6 arrived in Jammu division’s Rajouri district to have a firsthand account of the security situation, as the Army’s anti-militancy operation saw one militant dead and another injured at the Kandi Forest encounter site where five soldiers were killed and a Major-rank officer was wounded in a blast on May 5 during a combing operation.
Mr. Singh was received by J&K Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha and Army Chief General Manoj Pande on his arrival in Jammu earlier in the day. Later, Mr. Singh flew to Rajouri and interacted with the soldiers at the Army Base Camp of the district.
“I pay homage to these brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in service to the nation. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief,” Mr. Singh said, in a tweet.
J&K L-G laid wreath and paid tributes to the brave Army personnel, “who made supreme sacrifice in the ongoing operations”. “The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs,” the Lt. Governor said.
General Pande also saluted the “supreme sacrifice” of deceased Army jawans, Havaldar Neelam Singh, Naik Arvind Kumar, Lance Naik R.S. Rawat, Para Pramod Negi and Para S. Chettri.
The Army said the soldiers were hit when hiding terrorists triggered explosives during a search operation in the Kandi Forest area of Kesari Hills in Rajouri. A Major-rank officer was also injured.
One militant killed, another injured: Army
A fresh fire between the hiding militants and security forces erupted before sunrise in the Kandi Forest area, which is home to thick vegetation, natural caves and deep slopes.
“In the ongoing joint operation of the Army, J&K Police and CRPF in the Kandi Forest area, Rajouri Sector, around 7:00 a.m., the cordon while closing in spotted and pinned down the terrorists. In the ensuing gunbattle, one terrorist was neutralised and another is likely to be injured,” a Jammu-based Army spokesman.
The identity of the neutralised terrorist is being ascertained, the Army said.
The Army said one AK-56 Rifle, four magazines, 56 rounds, one 9-mm pistol, three grenades and one ammunition pouch were recovered from the encounter site.
LeT militant killed in Kashmir’s Baramulla
In the Kashmir valley, one militant was killed in a joint operation of the police, Army and CRPF in Karhama-Kunzer area of Baramulla district.
“During a search operation, the hiding terrorist fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party. In the ensuing encounter, a local terrorist linked with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was killed and his body was retrieved from the site of encounter,” the police said.
The slain militant was identified as Abid Wani, a resident of Yarhol Babapora, Kulgam.
“Incriminating materials, arms and ammunition, including one AK-47 rifle was recovered from the site of the encounter,” the police said.
Three LeT terrorists have been killed in the past 48 hours in Baramulla district in two separate anti-terrorist operations, the police said.
The Union Defence Minister also took stock of the operational preparedness of the Indian Army and the security situation along the border during his visit to the Army Base Camp in Rajouri, a defence spokesman said.
Army chief General Manoj Pande and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt. Gen. Upendra Dwivedi were present during the review meeting, officials said.
“The nation feels secure because of the unmatched courage, commitment and constant vigil of the soldiers of the Indian Army in difficult areas,” Mr Singh, who patted the soldiers.
He said the government and the people of the country are with the armed forces always.