5-7 terrorists are cordoned in Poonch forests; says DGP

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The ongoing operation against terrorists may take time as forest is dense and foliage thick: J&K Police Chief Dilbagh Singh

`‘“Five to six terrorist groups infiltrated through Rajouri-Poonch area this year’

BUNTY MAHAJAN

JAMMU, OCTOBER 27: The Jammu and Kashmir Police believe that 5 to 7 terrorists are hiding in the forests falling between border Poonch district’s Surankot and Mendhar tehsils where nine soldiers have been killed in two different encounters since October 11 this year.

“Two groups had come from across (the Line of Control) through Rajouri-Poonch area and they are embedded somewhere in the jungle area. Our troops went in for their search and unfortunately twice we could encounter them..,’’ said Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh while talking to a national TV news channel in Srinagar.

“Going by their sighting at three places and the cross fire between them and us at two places, I guess that their number is between 5-7,’’ he said, expressing confidence that police and security forces will be able to take on them very soon.

The J&K Police Chief admitted that the ongoing operation against militants hiding in the forests may continue for a longer period in view of large coverage of the area wherein troops are going again and again. “It has happened earlier also in Nowshera area when a group of terrorists had come in the month of May-June. In that case also, the encounter had continued for over a month and ultimately we were able to eliminate them,’’ he added.

However, when his attention was drawn towards the casualties on the side of security forces, DGP said “it is certainly very sad, but this is the cost you pay when you are in such kind of a scenario where jungles are so thick and the foliage is so thick’’.

About terrorists surviving in such a hostile terrain, DGP said that there are places in the forests which are used as temporary houses by people who go with their cattle and all. The time when they come around to those houses which are abandoned, these houses become available to these kind of terrorist groups who can come and stay for longer duration’’.

Pointing out that terrorists were making desperate attempts to infiltrate when the winter is on, he said that they did it in Machil and Gurez sectors. Two groups came in through that area, he said, adding that they did it in Kupwara sector and also in Baramulla’s Uri sector. “We have been able to eliminate some of them and also capture a Pakistani terrorist alive,’’ he added.

In Jammu division, “Rajouri-Poonch this year has been used quite aggressively by them,’’ the J&K Police Chief said, adding that “around 5 -6 terrorist groups have infiltrated from that area’’. “They (Pakistan) are pushing in as many numbers as as possible and one of the reasons for it is that we have been able to eliminate the entire leadership of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba in this area’’.

Their numbers have come down drastically and Pakistan as part of its strategy would also like to maintain a critical number of terrorists from their side so that they can directly pass on instructions to them and that is what has been happening in the case of LeT, he added. This is what happened even in the case of recent civilian killings, he added.