Jammu, April 22
Two Pakistani terrorists, who were on a ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) mission in Jammu, were gunned down by J&K Police in Sunjuwan area just two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in the adjoining Samba district. One Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer was also killed and many others were injured during the encounter.
The encounter started at around 4.15 in the morning after the police received an intelligence input about the presence of a group of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) ultras in the area that also has a vital military station nearby.
Terrorists lobbed a grenade and fired bullets at a bus carrying 15 CISF personnel who were going for the ongoing cordon and search operation from Chaddha camp in which Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) SP Patel died and three others were wounded.
The CISF was looking after the outer cordon after inputs by police when their bus came under attack which was repelled forcing the terrorists to run away and took shelter in a home. The family residing in the home, including a woman and her two children, were rescued by security forces as the terrorists were reportedly hiding inside a washroom.
Later, when the police, along with Special Operations Group (SOG) and CRPF, surrounded the premises, the terrorists started firing, after which an encounter ensued in which both the ultras were eliminated.
Director-General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh, who came to the encounter site, said that the attack is part of a bigger conspiracy to disturb peace in Jammu. “This attack may have taken place to sabotage the visit of the Prime Minister. We believe that both terrorists are Pakistani and they might have come to this side of the border in a fresh infiltration”.
He said there was no detail of these terrorists with the police, which indicates they had come recently from Pakistan. “Huge cache of ammunition has been recovered from the site, along with many grenades. They were also carrying energy drinks, medicines and food that are used mostly by suicide squad and both of them were also wearing fidayeen vests,” said the DGP. However, he said that it was difficult to say if the event of the PM was their target.
As soon as the encounter broke out in the morning, Internet services in the area were suspended to stop any rumours from spreading. All the government and private schools in the surrounding area were also shut. Many buses carrying students were asked to return by the police and school authorities midway.
The injured including at least six personnel of the CISF and the police were shifted to the Government Medical College and Hospital.
While the encounter was continuing, drones were pressed into service over important military installations in Jammu to detect any suspicious movement.
Locals in the area panicked with the rattle of AK-47 from both sides. The police have recovered a satellite phone, two AK-47 assault rifles, 10 magazines of rifles, grenades and one Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) from the encounter site. The bodies of the terrorists were recovered from residential premises. One of the bodies seems to have blown off due to the impact of an explosion, presumably the grenades he was carrying in the vest.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Mukesh Singh had reached the spot early in the morning and was coordinating the operation. He said that the police had laid a cordon in the area after inputs about presence of terrorists.
The Army started combing operation inside and surrounding areas of Sunjuwan military station to repel any ultra that might have entered the premises. Sniffer dogs were also used in search. In 2018, JeM ultras had attacked the same Army area in a similar pre-dawn attack in which five soldiers, one civilian and three terrorists were killed.
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha later tweeted: “I salute India’s brave son and CISF’s ASI SP Patel, who made the supreme sacrifice while fighting terrorists at Sunjwan, Jammu. His gallant deeds will never be forgotten. We stand in solidarity with his bereaved family. Prayers for the speedy recovery of injured.”