Srinagar, December 6 – Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll rally, Kashmir Valley was on Friday rocked by four terror attacks by militants from across the border who stormed an Army camp in Uri leaving 11 security personnel including a Lt Colonel dead and killed two civilians in Tral.
The attacks and gun battles with security forces which in all left 21 people dead also included a top commander of Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT and seven militants. Srinagar and Shopian were the other two places where the militants struck, reported PTI.
They came just three days after a 72 per cent voter turnout was registered in the second phase of incident-free Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday in a rerun of record polling in the first phase.
Modi, who will be holding a rally in Srinagar city on Monday, condemned the terror attacks as “desperate attempts” to derail the atmosphere of hope created by the increased voter turnout and saluted the soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation.
Uri, Srinagar, Tral and Shopian goes to polls in the third and fourth phase over the next 10 days. Located 100 km from here, Uri town in North Kashmir woke up to a raging gun fight between militants and army personnel this morning as a group of six terrorists had targeted an artillery camp, located 20 km from the Line of Control (LoC) in a pre-dawn strike, official sources said.
The militants entered into the first barrack of the high-security artillery unit at 3.10 am and fired several rounds which set off a fire. Four army personnel, who were injured in the gun fight, could not come out of the barrack and were charred to death, the sources said.
A message was relayed to the local police and nearby Punjab regiment which rushed its Quick Reaction Team to counter the intruding militants. However, the team was caught in a cross fire in which Lt Col Sankalp Kumar of Punjab Regiment and three other ranks were killed.
An Assistant Sub Inspector of J and K police and two constables were also gunned down by the militants, who might have infiltrated into the region from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir(POK) around Monday or Tuesday.
Armed with AK rifles, grenades and two shot guns, the dense fog in the region also came to the help of six militants who went on a killing spree before being shot dead by the army at the Mohra in Uri tehsil of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district which goes to polls on December 9.
In Tral, militants hurled a grenade at a police party in which two civilians were killed. Terming the attacks as most unfortunate, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the militants crossed from across the border and fired at the jawans and securitymen at a camp. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the attacks were a “desperate attempt” to disrupt peace and normalcy.
Army Chief Dalbir Singh to visit Jammu and Kashmir:
Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday to take stock of the security situation in the state that was hit by terror attacks today claiming the lives of 11 security personnel including a Lt Colonel.
This would be his third visit to militancy-hit state in less than two weeks while Army officials remained tight-lipped about his schedule, sources indicated that he will leave for the state on Saturday morning, PTI reported.
His visit comes a day after the attacks and gun battles with security forces in Kashmir valley 21 people dead, including a top commander of Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT and seven militants.
He will be briefed by the Army top brass in the Northern Command about today’s situation as well as security scenario in the state that is in the midst of Assembly elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday condemned the attacks in Jammu and Kashmir in which 23 people were killed.
“Attacks in Jammu and Kashmir are condemnable. They are desperate attempts to derail the atmosphere of hope and goodwill as seen by increased voter turnout,” the prime minister tweeted.
A total of 21 people, including eight army men, were killed and at least 10 injured Friday in a string of brazen militant strikes, days ahead of Modi’s rally here for the staggered assembly elections.