It has been a testing day for Jammu and Kashmir with four terror strikes in different parts of the state. In the first encounter that lasted for nearly 12 hours, security forces successfully killed all six terrorists who tried to enter an Army fortification in the Uri sector. However, seven Army men and three policemen also lost their lives in the gun battle.
In another encounter in Soura area of Srinagar, just 10 kilometres away from the prominent Lal Chowk, one terrorist was killed by the security forces. He has been identified as an LeT commander. “I have no idea. We don’t have any confirmed idea on what is happening. We have surrounded the area. There is no report on number of casualties,” said Prabhat Kumar, CRPF Commandant.
In the third attack in the state, a grenade was thrown inside the Shopian police station. No injuries have been reported so far in the incident.
The fourth attack took place when a grenade was thrown near a bus stand in Tral in Pulwama in a move to target the civilians. One person has died while nine others have been injured in the attack.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh slammed Pakistan for the serial terror strikes. He accused the neighbouring country of harbouring terrorists.
Taken aback by the serial attacks, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “It’s been a terrible day – 4 attacks & a number of deaths – security forces & innocent civilians killed in the valley today. JK Police & army are responding to the attack in Uri. Once again shows the desperate levels militants will go to to disrupt peace & normalcy.”
“My heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the 4 attacks today. I hope @HMOIndia takes steps to plug the gaps in C I grid,” read another tweet from the CM.
The Uri encounter started in the Mohura area at around 3 am on Friday morning when six terrorists tried to storm an Army fortification. A senior Army officer Lt Col Sankalp Kumar and six jawans were killed in the gun battle. Three senior police officers who were supervising the operation have also been killed in the encounter.
The terror attacks come even as two phases of the Assembly elections are over and three others are still scheduled. Uri and the nearby Baramulla area will be voting in the third phase on December 9.
Separatists in Jammu and Kashmir have called for a boycott of the election that began late last month but voters have turned out in record numbers on the two days of polling held so far, braving freezing temperatures and long lines. Terrorists have stepped up attacks after a lull of months.
The result of the state election will be announced on December 23. Led by an expansive campaign by the Prime Minister, the BJP is making its most serious bid yet to win power for the first time in the state, banking on votes in the Hindu-majority Jammu and Buddhist Ladakh areas. It is also capitalising on the rise of independents and splits elsewhere in Muslim-majority Kashmir.