Jammu gunbattle toll now six, second terrorist killed (Third Lead)August 27th, 2008 - 10:48 pm ICT by IANS
Jammu, Aug 27 (IANS) Security forces, laying siege to a house where militants held the inmates hostage Wednesday, killed a second guerrilla after the terrorists renewed firing in the evening. The army held in abeyance its final assault ,pending the rescue of the hostages.Earlier in the day, security forces rescued three children and a woman from among the hostages in this winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir. In the gunbattle three civilians, an army officer and a guerrilla were killed in this winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
The militants, holed up in a house in Chinore on the outskirts of this city, took six civilians hostage Wednesday morning. The security forces said they were trying to rescue the two remaining hostages before launching final assault on the guerrillas.
The army confirmed the killing of the second militant but said they were still waiting for the final action.
“Our final assault will have to wait till either the inmates have been released by the militants or we are able to rescue them,” Maj. Gen. Darshan Lal Choudhary told newsmen.
The police said three terrorists had crossed into Jammu and Kashmir from the Kanachak sector of the border with Pakistan Tuesday morning. They were intercepted at the police check post of Chinore Wednesday morning, about 20 km north from the centre of Jammu.
The militants, dressed in police uniforms and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, shot dead a junior commissioned officer and then hijacked a three-wheeler. They then fired indiscriminately, killing Shabeet Hussain, a milkman, and motorcyclist Naseeb Singh before killing the three-wheeler driver, Vijay Kumar, said the police.
The guerrillas then entered a house in Chinore. Police and army personnel cordoned off the area and were engaged in a gunbattle with the militants.
Once the remaining hostages were rescued, there would be a “final onslaught”, said an army officer, which in military terms means blowing up the building with rocket launchers or explosives.
“This (civilian hostages) is what is holding us up from launching final onslaught. We are ready for that,” Gen. Choudhary told newsmen late this evening.
Grenade explosions and gun shots were heard in the area as the single-storey building where the militants were hiding was perforated with bullet marks. But the firing died down throughout the afternmoon. It was resumed late in the evening during which the second militant was killed.
“A high alert has been sounded in Jammu due to the terrorist infiltration from across the border,” said Inspector General of Police (Jammu Zone) K. Rajendra.
The Border Security Force (BSF), along with police and army personnel, launched a massive manhunt for the militants, who entered the Indian territory at Kanachak, about 20 km north of here, after cutting the barbed wire fence Tuesday.
“This is a serious situation. The intruders sneaked into the Indian side under the cover of fire, which was most probably provided by the Pakistani Rangers,” a BSF official said.
This is the second major gunbattle in Jammu region in less than three and a half months.
Six people were killed in Samba town, 40 km southwest of Jammu May 11.
According to defence sources, militants had infiltrated May 8 from across the international border in Samba sector before they surfaced May 11 morning and killed civilians and soldiers. Three militants were killed in that battle.
People in the Jammu region have been holding rallies demanding the allocation of 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti, a coalition of some 30 Hindu groups spearheading the agitation over the land row, has planned a huge rally later Wednesday at Jammu’s Parade Ground.