Srinagar, Sep 15: A soldier injured in the ongoing operation in Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district succumbed to his injuries on Friday, taking the toll to four, even as on the third day of the encounter, fresh firing and blast rocked Gadole forest area for the entire day on Friday.
During the encounter which began on Wednesday Colonel Manpreet Singh, the Commanding Officer of 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Aashish Dhonchak, also from the same battalion, and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Muhammad Humayun Muzamil Bhat suffered fatal injuries during the operation.
Sources in security establishment said that the injured succumbed to his injuries Thursday night at Army hospital here.
He was being treated for his injuries at the hospital.
To get to the hiding terrorists, security forces involved in the operation have resorted to firing mortar shells in the rugged terrain believed to be harboring them.
Fresh firing and blasts were heard as the counter-terrorist operation in the Gadole forest in Anantnag district entered the third day on Friday.
During the last two days, security forces deployed Under-Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGLs) and directed high-intensity fire toward the jungle, where terrorists are believed to be hiding.
Additional troops have been deployed at the encounter site, and an extensive operation has been launched to secure the entire forested region of Gadol to capture the terrorists.
Officials have confirmed that an intensive search operation is currently underway, with helicopters being mobilised to bolster the effort.
Eyewitness from the area said that since Friday morning, the firing has been taking place at intervals near the spot that has been encircled by the security forces, comprising Army, Police, and CRPF personnel.
“Throughout the night, the security forces had kept a close cordon around the forest,” one of the senior Police officers told Greater Kashmir.
He said that to track the movements and pinpoint the exact location of the terrorists, security forces deployed drones, which have become invaluable tools in modern anti-terrorism operations.
“The use of drone surveillance enables the forces to gather real-time intelligence and execute targeted actions while minimising risk to personnel,” he said adding more troops including elite paratroopers had been inducted for operation.
“The joint parties used drones to drop grenades on suspected terrorist hideout locations,” the officer said. “The terrain is extremely difficult. We are carrying out the combing operation in the forest.”
A senior Army officer said, “We are carrying out determined efforts to kill the terrorists who have claimed the lives of four officers since earlier this week.”
He said that the security forces – Army, Police, and CRPF - had intensified their anti-terror operation in the forested hills.
“Yes the operation now is running on the third day. We are employing advanced tactics, including drone surveillance and heavy artillery fire,” the Army officer said.
Police on Thursday said that LeT terrorists including Uzair Khan, had been encircled.
Khan had joined terrorist ranks last year.
Political leadership and members of civil society across Kashmir widely condemned the killing of the officers.
Several protests and candlelight marches were held in the region, including north Kashmir's Kupwara and Bandipora districts and south Kashmir's Kulgam district.
The demonstrators, which included friends and acquaintances of the trio, held placards with condolence messages to the victims' families.
The political leadership and top officials from civil and police administration including the Lieutenant Governor visited the family of DSP Bhat, whose father, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, retired as Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir in 2018.