Three suspected JeM militants killed in gunfight in Doda

JAMMU — Three militants, suspected to be affiliated with the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit, were killed in a gunfight that lasted for more than six hours in a forest area in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district on Wednesday, police officials said.

A policeman was also injured in the gunfight that broke out in Bajaad village in the Gandoh area around 9:50 am amid an intensified cordon-and-search operation launched by the police, Army and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), following twin militant attacks in the hill district on June 11 and 12, the officials added.

Six security personnel were injured when militants attacked a joint check post at Chattargalla on June 11, while a policeman was hurt in a gunfight with militants at the Kota top in Gandoh the next day.

After the twin attacks, the security forces intensified their anti-militancy operations and announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh each on information about four Pakistani militants believed to have infiltrated into the district.

During an operation in a village in Sinoo panchayat, the forces came under heavy fire from the militants hiding in a “dhok” (mud house) on a slope, the officials said, adding that one ultra was killed in the retaliatory fire after he came out and started firing on the search parties.

Heavy gunfire and explosions rattled the village as two more militants were eliminated by the security forces as the day progressed, the officials said, adding that a huge quantity of arms and ammunition, including two M4 carbines and an AK-series assault rifle, were seized from the possession of the slain militants.

The identity and group affiliation of the slain ultras could not be ascertained immediately, they said.

However, the officials added that according to a preliminary investigation, the militants believed to have recently infiltrated from across the border are JeM members and likely from Pakistan.

An Army helicopter was also seen hovering over the area for surveillance during the encounter, the officials said.

They said the encounter ended around 4 pm but a thorough search operation is still continuing to ensure that no other terrorists are there in the area.

Additional Director General of Police, Jammu Zone, Anand Jain, along with Deputy Inspector General of Police, Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban range, Shridhar Patil and Senior Superintendent of Police, Doda, Javid Iqbal, rushed to the encounter site to supervise the operation.

This was the second such encounter in the Jammu region this month. On June 11-12, two Pakistani militants and a CRPF jawan were killed in a 15-hour-long operation in the Hiranagar sector of Kathua district. — (PTI)