Mobile Internet suspended in Poonch, Rajouri districts amid massive search operation

JAMMU — Mobile Internet services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Rajouri districts early Saturday as security forces continued their massive search operation to track down militants behind the recent ambush on two Army vehicles that left five soldiers dead, officials said.

The suspension of the mobile Internet services in the twin border districts followed mysterious death of three persons after being allegedly picked up by the Army for questioning, and widespread resentment among people after the circulation of videos purportedly showing torture of the suspects.

While both Army and civil authorities are tight-lipped on the ground situation, official sources said mobile Internet services were suspended both in Poonch and Rajouri districts as a precautionary measure to check rumour-mongering and prevent miscreants from creating any law and order problem.

Senior Army, police and civil officers are monitoring the situation, the sources said, adding additional police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in sensitive pockets of the districts to maintain peace.

Three to four heavily-armed militants targeted an army gypsy and a truck at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz under the jurisdiction of Surankote police station in Poonch late Thursday afternoon, killing five soldiers and injuring two others.

After the attack, the militants reportedly mutilated the bodies of at least two soldiers and took weapons of some of them.

A massive search operation was launched immediately after the attack in the densely forested areas, also covering nearby Thanamandi in Rajouri but there was no fresh contact with the fleeing militants so far, the officials said.

Three persons, who were among those detained for questioning by Army in connection with Thursday’s attack, died mysteriously on Friday. The sources said their bodies have been handed over to their families for last rites as investigation in continues in their deaths.

The deceased were identified as Safeer Hussain (43), Mohd Showket (27) and Shabir Ahmad (32) of Topa Peer village of Bufliaz but the cause of their death was not known immediately. — (PTI)