A second terrorist was killed in an encounter with security forces on Wednesday, raising the death toll during the ongoing three-day search operation in a remote village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district to three, officials said.
A suspected Pakistani terrorist was killed in an encounter in the remote Narla village on Tuesday. An Army personnel and Kent, a six-year-old female Labrador of the Army’s dog unit, also died while three security personnel were injured in the gunfight.
Additional Director General of Police (Jammu Zone) Mukesh Singh said another terrorist was killed in Wednesday’s encounter.
Despite bad weather, security forces laid a strong cordon around the area, 75 kilometres from Rajouri town, throughout the night and extended the search to nearby areas in the morning, officials said.
Intermittent firing was reported during the night, creating fear among locals who demanded permanent security posts, they said.
The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the forested Patrada area on Monday and fired a few rounds after noticing the suspicious movement of two people, the officials said.
However, both the suspects managed to escape under the cover of darkness and the thick foliage. They left behind a rucksack and some clothes and other articles that were recovered by the search parties.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held for Ravi Kumar, the slain rifleman from Kishtwar district, at the Army garrison in Rajouri early on Wednesday.
Deputy Commissioner (Rajouri) Vikas Kundal and senior Army officers along with those from other ranks laid wreaths on Kumar’s coffin. His body is being airlifted to his hometown for last rites with full military honours.
“White Knight Corps salutes the supreme sacrifice of Rifleman Ravi during ‘Op Sujaligala’ in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. His unwavering dedication and service to our nation will always be remembered,” the Kammu-based XVI Corps said in a post on X.
A defence spokesperson said a brave Army dog lost her life while saving her handler during Tuesday’s gunfight.
“The Army dog, Kent, was at the forefront of Operation Sujaligala. Kent was leading a column of soldiers on the trail of the fleeing terrorists. She came down under heavy hostile fire. While shielding her handler, she laid down her own life in the best traditions of the Indian Army,” the spokesperson said.
On September 4, a terrorist was killed and two security personnel were injured in nearby Gali Sohab village in the Chassana area of Reasi district.
The border districts of Rajouri and Poonch have witnessed several encounters this year, resulting in the deaths of about 26 terrorists and 10 security personnel.
Most of the terrorists were killed while attempting to sneak into this side from across the border, the officials said.
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