Five Arrested In Poonch As Army Chief Visits The Encounter Site on Day 9

SRINAGAR: On the ninth day of the encounter in Rajouri – Poonch authorities have detained five more people in Mendhar as part of the investigations about the elusive militant group. It coincided with the arrest of the army chief to the forward areas in the region.

The encounter in which nine soldiers were killed in the last nine days is considered to be the worst in recent history. Police, army and other member institutions of the security grid have taken a vast stretch of the dense forests into cordon and combing operations are a continuous process. There have been some instances of the crossfire without any outcome by way of arrests or injuries.

Police had already detained three persons and with the detention of five more persons, the total number of people being investigated has reached nine. These included a middle-aged woman who was arrested along with her teenage son.

On Tuesday, reports said the security grid has asked the residents in the vast Bhata Durian belt to stay restricted to their homes. The announcements have been made from the loudspeaker-fitted mosques.  “All people who are outside their homes, cutting grass or harvesting maize crops, are appealed to immediately return to their homes along with their children and cattle,” residents of Sauti, Nar and Bahat Durian said they heard the announcers saying.

The announcements, officials have said were done to prevent any collateral damage during the ongoing operation.

The ninth day of the operation coincided with the visit of Army chief General MM Naravane to the region. A day after landing Jammu, the General flew to Poonch and took stock of the ongoing operation against militants in around Bhimber Ghali. He had already been briefed about the progress in the ongoing operation. He is reported to have interacted with the soldiers.

Army has already deployed commando units as choppers and unmanned aerial vehicles are flying for additional surveillance. Security officials have been saying that the area is challenging and the forests are dense and the operation will take time to conclude.

The encounter is being tipped to be the longest in recent years. In the first encounter, five soldiers, including a JCO, were killed at Chamrel near DKG and four others, including another JCO, were killed on Thursday night in Bhata Durian forest.

Meanwhile India Today reported that a new outfit “calling itself the PAFF (People’s Anti-Fascists Front)” has released a video about the ongoing encounter in the Mendhar area.

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