Had Captain Ayush Yadav not taken on three militants, who were trying to enter a compound of the Army’s 68 Brigade in Panzgam village, 25 kilometres from Kupwara town in north Kashmir during a pre-dawn attack, the attackers would have inflicted serious damage. The attacked garrison is an artillery base.
Yadav, 26, a resident of Defence colony in Jalmau area of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was killed when he along with a few other soldiers blocked the entry of militants pushing them to the front side gate of the Brigade. He was killed on the spot in the encounter that took place at 4:30 am in the morning.
“The captain was martyred when he tried to stop the terrorists from moving towards a particular residential area inside the garrison,” Col Saruv Joshi, an officer of the Indian Army, told reporters outside the garrison which was attacked by the militants on Thursday morning.
“Two to three terrorists were seen cutting the perimeter fence of the garrison. Our patrol team immediately challenged and fired upon the terrorists. The terrorists fired back and started running towards the living area of one of the garrison unit,” Joshi said.
Sources in the Army said the three militants had crossed the Line of Control on Thursday morning and tried to enter the camp from the rear side which is a few dozen metres from the front side of the Brigade. “We chased them from the rear side to the front gate,” Joshi, the officer who briefed the media outside the camp, said.
“Throughout the period no terrorist was allowed to enter the residential areas by accurate and heavy firing from all directions,” Joshi added.
Three army soldiers, including the captain, were killed in the gunfight that lasted for 37 minutes in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. The Army killed two militants but a third, who was hit by a bullet, managed to escape from the site leaving his weapon inside the camp. The other two soldiers who were killed were identified as Bhoop Singh Gujjar, 46, president of Malawa, Rajasthan and Bhoota Venkata Ramanna, 38, a resident of Arivanipallam village in Andhra Pradesh.
Five soldiers were also injured and rushed to Army’s 92 base hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment. Some of the soldiers are said to be critical.
As the search and sanitation operation were being carried out in the area for the third terrorist, hundreds of villagers and students took to the streets and threw stones at the forces. One person was killed and several others sustained injuries after forces fired at protesters in Panzgam village.
The locals were protesting outside the camp and were demanding the body of the slain militants. Reports said that the Army fired at the protesting crowd resulting in the killing of one person and injuring many others. The slain villager has been identified as Ghulam Hassan Bhat from Panzgam village. Bhat was hit by a bullet in the neck and succumbed to his injury on the way to the hospital.
The Army had maintained restraint since the morning after hundreds of villagers gathered outside the camp demanding the militant's body and shouting pro-freedom slogans.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, during a meeting of Unified Headquarters, a body represented by all security wings active in the state, has asked security forces to “avoid collateral damage” during anti-militancy operations in J&K.
Updated Date: Apr 27, 2017 20:21 PM