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3 die in attack on J&K road engineers’ camp

VIGIL:A soldier takes guard during a search outsidethe GREF camp at Battal on Monday.— PHOTO: AP

VIGIL:A soldier takes guard during a search outsidethe GREF camp at Battal on Monday.— PHOTO: AP  

Suspected militants attacked a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) camp and killed three labourers near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu’s Akhnoor district on Monday morning.

GREF is an organisation meant to build and maintain border roads in the country.

A senior police official said an unknown number of Punjabi-speaking attackers came close to the GREF camp in the Battal area around 1.30 a.m.

“The gunmen entered the camp and were instructing each other to sprinkle combustible material in the tents after they shot dead three labourers,” said a police official.

The deceased were identified as Salman Khan of Jharkhand and Ramesh Tipnu and Rashid Aslam from Uttar Pradesh.

Security agencies fear the target may have been an Army installation located in the area. “We are not ruling out militants crossing over in the night and fleeing back after the attack,” said police officials. A major search operation is on.

At the time of the attack, the camp was housing around a dozen employees of GREF.

All schools in the area were closed after the incident. Police said no eyewitness has come forward with any tip-off on the movement of the attackers.

In the past, the security agencies have pointed out an increasing role of Pakistan’s Border Action Team, along with militant groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir, in carrying out attacks along the LoC. The spot is around 2 km from the LoC and the International Border is also nearby. On November 29 last year, militants attacked an Army camp in Jammu and killed seven soldiers.

CM condemns attack

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attack in the Assembly. “No one feels good over the killings. Everyone feels bad,” she said.

She conveyed her sympathies to the families of the workers.

Both lawmakers of the National Conference and the Congress created a ruckus in the Assembly over the attack, seeking a government response.

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