The special troopers of Army which were pressed in Shalabatoo area of Keran Sector last week to fight infiltrators, on Monday clashed with militants who have allegedly occupied the area since September 23. This is the first clash between militants and special troopers since Oct 2 when the latter were called to launch operation in Shalabatoo area against the infiltrators.
Official sources told GNS that troopers of 9 Para and 4 Para along with troopers of 3/3 GR, 15 RR, 16 GR and 5 ASSAM gradually started heading towards intruded area and fired mortar shells, still from long distance, as the area militants have occupied is of high altitude. The firing was retaliated by militants and exchange of firing continued intermittently since this report was filed, the sources said, adding that there were no reports of causality during the exchange of fire.
Sources also said that Indian Air Force (AIF) might be called in to battle infiltrators, if required.
Sources said that Army is moving cautiously in conducting the operation as the area is rocky and terrain with an altitude of 9000 to 10000 ft which in all ways favors militants. “They have adjusted themselves in ordinary hideouts,” they said, adding the Indian observation posts which are allegedly occupied by militants include Khokri and Kullar posts, also known as listening and ambush posts respectively. The posts from Pakistani side which are opposite to Indian posts are Biswal and Ahithana posts.
The militants according to sources are well trained and are using latest equipments which they have allegedly captured during change of guard in Shalabatoo area. The militants are also using their own devices like Global Positioning System (GPS) to monitor the situation in the area.
Pertinently, on October 4, three militants were killed after Army’s 17 Punjab foiled an infiltration bid near Kolang Post at Line of Control (LoC) in Keran Sector of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district. However, the infiltrators managed to cross 500 meters into this side by cutting the fence of Indian side.
On Oct 7, Army’s 12 Gadwal killed four militants crossed about 3 kilometers into this side by cutting fence along Indian side near Fateh Gali in Keran Sector of Kupwara district. A trooper Hawaldar Parveen Singh was also injured in the operation