Srinagar: While the operation to take down terrorists from Gadole forests of Kokernag in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district entered the fourth day, Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi conducted a review of the ongoing operation in the area on Saturday.
To take down the terrorists in the forest, the Army, the Police, and the paramilitary forces have established a multi-layer cordon around the area to intensify the search for terrorists responsible for the killing of two Army officers – Colonel Manpreet Singh and Major Ashish Danchok of the 19 RR, and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Muhammad Humanyun Muzamil Bhat.
The joint security operation by the Indian Army, J&K Police, and special commandos has been going on for over 95 hours.
The security forces have cordoned off the entire region and are tracking every movement of the two terrorists who have not been killed in the encounter so far.
On Saturday, drones continued to hover in the area and intense shelling of the forest area continued. The forest area is difficult terrain and slight rains also disrupted the operation on Saturday.
Official sources said that the Army had deployed Under-Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGLs), Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs), and an Israeli Heron unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
“The UAV detected movement in Gadole after a cave-like hideout was bombed, and the Army subsequently used UBGLs and RPGs to target the suspected hideout,” one of the senior officers from the security establishment said. “Intense combing is going on in the area.”
The J&K Police has said that the terrorists involved in the killing of the three officers and a soldier were trapped in the forest.
The officer said that a narrow lane to the hill was quite challenging.
“It is very narrow and there is a dense forest on one side and a deep ditch on the other,” he said. “Despite intermittent light rain, security forces continued the operation to take down the hiding terrorists.”
The officer said that the residents near the operation site had been relocated to safer locations and that there had been no confirmation regarding the death of any terrorist.
“The rugged terrain and dense vegetation in the area is posing challenges for the security forces,” he said. “To prevent any escape of terrorists high-beam lights have been installed, and a strict multi-layer cordon is in place.”
On Friday, intermittent firing continued throughout the Gadole forests where J&K Police said that two to three terrorists, including a local terrorist Uzair Khan, were hiding.
Heavy firepower, quadcopters, and UAVs were deployed to locate the terrorists, and helicopters conducted strafing runs in the area.
To take stock of the operation, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Dwivedi visited the area.
He was briefed by the commanders on the ground.
“OP GAROL#LtGenUpendraDwivedi #ArmyCdr, Northern Command reviewed the operational situation on the ongoing operations at #Kokernag forest area in #Anantnag. He was briefed by the ground commanders on the high-intensity operations in which hi-tech equipment is being used,” the Northern Command- Indian Army posted on X.
On Friday, Police said that the operation was conducted in response to a tip that there were two to three terrorists in the vicinity who had been seen and were being surrounded in Gadul.
Taking to X, Additional Director General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar advised the retired Police and Army officers to avoid going with the “ambush hypothesis”.
“Retired Police and Army officers should avoid ambush hypothesis. It is a specific input-based operation. The operation is in progress and all two to three trapped terrorists will be killed,” he said.