Four suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists were killed and two policemen were injured in a gunbattle on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway after a truck carrying a group of freshly infiltrated militants was intercepted by security forces on the outskirts of Jammu city on Thursday, top police officials said.
The terrorists had come to execute a “big plan” which has now been foiled, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu, Mukesh Singh, said.
In Srinagar, IGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said the four terrorists were on their way to the Kashmir valley to disturb the District Development Council (DDC) polls scheduled later this month, as Pakistan has been trying to cause trouble in the political process.
Giving details of the encounter, IGP Singh told a press conference in Jammu that during checking a truck was stopped at Ban toll plaza in Nagrota area at 5 am but the driver fled leaving behind the vehicle.CRPF and police personnel moved to search the vehicle and came under fire from the terrorists hiding in the truck. They retaliated resulting in an encounter. Other forces also joined resulting in a fierce gunbattle in which terrorists fired grenades and arms, he said. In the three-hour-long gunbattle, four terrorists were killed and two policemen were injured, he said, adding the policemen were out of danger.
A huge cache of arms, ammunition, and explosive material was recovered including 11 AK rifles, 3 pistols, 29 grenades, and 6 UBGL grenades, he said. As per weapon recovery and past instances, it appears that they belong to JeM, he added. Speaking on the sidelines of a function in Srinagar, IGP Kumar said, “For the last few days, Pakistan has increased attempts to infiltrate militants into this side and to disturb the elections for which the process is on. In this context, Jammu Police and security forces have done a good job by neutralizing four Pakistanis (militants). Their (militants’) aim was to come to Kashmir to disturb the election process”.
He said there were apprehensions about militants targeting the elections, but the security forces were fully prepared to deal with the situation.“Whether there is an election or August 15 or January 26 or even a VIP visit, apprehensions are always there, but we are fully prepared… We are providing security to the candidates and they have started going to the field for campaigning from yesterday and there is nothing to fear,” he said.
Kumar, however, said providing security to each candidate contesting the polls, which begin on November 28, was difficult.
“Providing security to each candidate is difficult. We are providing them collective security and they are being put up in secure areas. Whenever any candidate goes out for campaigning, we provide a double escort with him and secure the area for him to the campaign,” he said when pointed out that the candidates were alleging that they had not been provided security.
DDC polls will be held from November 28 to December 22. Results will be declared on December 22. These polls will be the first major political activity in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 last year, when the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 of the Constitution and split it into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.