Rajouri, May 5: Five soldiers of the Army’s elite Special Forces were killed while a Major-ranked officer was injured in an anti-terrorist operation in Rajouri district of Pir Panjal region on Friday, the Army said.
The Jammu-based Defence spokesman in a statement issued here said that five soldiers of the Indian Army were killed in an anti-terrorist operation in Kesari Hill area of Kandi, Rajouri.
“Indian Army columns had been conducting relentless intelligence-based operations to kill a group of terrorists involved in the ambush on an Army truck in Tota Gali area of Bhata Dhurian,” he said referring to the anti-terrorist operation in Poonch on April 20.
The Defence spokesman said that on specific information about the presence of terrorists in the Kandi Forest in Rajouri sector, a joint operation was launched on Wednesday and at 7:30 am on Friday, a search team established contact with a group of terrorists well entrenched in a cave.
He said that the area was thickly vegetated with rocky and steep cliffs.
“The terrorists triggered an explosive device and the Army team suffered two fatal casualties in the initial stage while three Army personnel succumbed to injuries during treatment while an officer is under treatment,” the Defence spokesman said.
He said that there was a likelihood of casualties among the terrorist group too while the operation was in progress.
The Army has identified the five killed soldiers as Lance Naik Ruchin Singh Rawat, son of Rajendra Singh of Uttarakhand; paratrooper Siddhant Chettri, son of Kharka Bahadur of Darjeeling; Naik Arvind Kumar, son of Ujwaal Singh of Himachal Pradesh;
Havaldar Neelam Singh, son of Gurdev Singh of Akhnoor, Jammu; and paratrooper Pramod Negi, son of Devinder Singh Negi of Himachal Pradesh.
Official sources said that after receiving specific inputs regarding the suspicious movement in the Kesari Hill area, a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) was launched on Thursday night.
They said that the soldiers were moving when they established contact with the terrorists, triggering a heavy exchange of fire.
The official sources said that the terrorists attacked the Army’s search team near a water body in Kesari Hill, leaving six Army personnel injured while the terrorists managed to escape from the firing site.
They said that the injured soldiers were evacuated to an Army facility where five of them succumbed.
The official sources said that the injured Army officer was under treatment at Army’s Command Hospital while the bodies of the five Army personnel had been taken to the Army Hospital in Rajouri.
They said that additional teams from the vicinity had been directed to the gunfight site.
Meanwhile, around 10 sq km area of Kesari Hill and Dhoks around had been cordoned by joint teams of Army, Police, and CRPF.
During the past four months, 10 soldiers and seven civilians have been killed in Pir Panjal region.
On January 1 this year, terrorists carried out an attack in Dhangri village in which seven civilians were killed while 13 others were injured.
On April 20, five Army personnel were killed in Bhata Dhurian attack.
Five soldiers from the elite Special Force were killed in Kesari Hill anti-terrorsit operation on May 5.