4 soldiers, 3 militants killed in Machil encounter

Four security force personnel, including an officer, and three militants were killed and two army soldiers injured in an ongoing encounter in Machil Sector of Kupwara district of north Kashmir, officials said.

The encounter started last night after a patrolling party of Border Security Force 169-Battalion spotted militants along the Line of Control (LoC).

Officials of Kupwara-based 28-Infantry Division said when the patrolling party challenged the militants, whose number they said was two to four, the militants opened fire on the BSF patrolling party. “In the exchange of fire one militant and a BSF personnel were killed,” officials said, adding that later soldiers of 18-Madras regiment of army joined them and the area was cordoned.

“At around 1 am, a patrol party of the Border Security Force noticed suspicious movements 3.5 KM from Line of Control and challenged them, leading to a three-hour gun-battle in which a militant was killed,” officials said here.

Defence spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said here that BSF patrol noticed suspicious movement near the Anti-Infiltration Obstacle System (AIOS) (LoC Fence), about 3.5 KM from the LoC. “Firefight ensued in which one militant was killed and a BSF soldier was killed in action,” he said. “Firefight stopped at 4 am.”

He said that more troops were rushed to the area and militant movement was tracked by surveillance devices.

He said that contact was re-established Thursday morning. “Heavy fire was drawn by own search parties approximately 1.5 km from the LoC. In the ensuing firefight two more militants were killed,” he said. “Three soldiers were killed in action and two others were injured.”

“Injured soldiers have been evacuated to the hospital,” he said adding that operation in the area is still under process.

BSF identified its killed personnel as Sudip Kumar. “He received bullets but with utter disregard to his personal safety he kept on fighting till his last breath with exemplary courage and ultimately he was killed,” a spokesman said.

A senior officer of 28-Infantry Division said that firing has stopped and searches are underway. “The terrain is difficult and massive searches are underway to flush out remnants if any,” he said. “More areas have been cordoned off for searches.”

This is the second major encounter on the LoC after April this year. In the first week of April, five commandos belonging to elite Para unit of the Army and the same number of militants were killed in the Keran Sector of Kupwara district.