General Officer Commanding 15 Corps, Lt Gen BS Raju, Monday said that Army suffered only five casualties in Keran gunfight with militants yesterday. He said the operation, in Kupwara district in which five militants were also killed, got hampered due to adverse weather conditions and difficult terrain.
“We suffered only five casualties, no further casualties or injuries,” Lt Gen B S Raju told the Greater Kashmir.
The Special Forces personnel killed in the gun-battle have been identified as Subedar Sanjeev Kumar, Havildar Davendra Singh, Paratrooper Bal Krishan, Paratrooper Amit Kumar and Paratrooper Chhatrapal Singh.
“We have dispatched the mortal remains of the soldiers around 11.30 am today and they will be reaching their respective families by this evening only.”
Gen Raju said that the Keran operation has been called off. “The operation took time because of difficult terrain and adverse weather,” he said adding that for the first three days weather was totally adverse. “In last two days weather opened up we carried out the operation.”
The GOC said that the militants divided themselves into two groups. “One group with the guide was trying to go back and we trapped that. At the same time we engaged other one and eliminated both the groups,” he said. “There is over 10 feet snow right now where the gunfight took place.”
“So far we have inputs that the group belongs to JeM, we are corroborating.”
Meanwhile, police have despatched a team to the area to collect DNA samples of the killed militants. A police official said a family from south Kashmir has approached them for body, stating that one of the killed militants was their son. “Any further step will be taken after DNA matching,” the official said.
Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the Army engaged the militants in a close quarter battle in heavy snow, “neutralising the entire infiltrating batch of five.”
“Four soldiers under the command of a Junior Commissioned Officer from one of the most professional Para SF Units were air dropped near the LoC after information on the infiltrators was received,” he said. “An intense hand to hand battle ensued and all five militants were eliminated.”
In this battle, Army lost five of its best soldiers, three on the site and two more succumbed while they were airlifted to a nearby military hospital.
“Army salutes the brave hearts killed in action and shall continue to protect its borders from inimical forces at all costs,” he added.