- Special Forces deployed after footprints found near LoC
- Terrorists attempted to infiltrate in bad weather
- All five terrorists killed in gunfight
In one of the most brutal encounters along the Line of Control in recent times, a squad of Indian Army Special Forces soldiers eliminated five heavily armed terrorists in a high-altitude snow-bound area in Kashmir. Sadly, all five soldiers were killed in the operation.
Details shared with NDTV indicate that the Army Special Forces were deployed after "footprints were noticed near the Line of Control" on April 1. The protective fence in the area which prevents terrorists from entering was submerged in snow. Army sources say the area where the incursion took place has a "razor sharp ridge line where all routes are cut off due to high snow levels."
The group of terrorists "attempted to exploit the inclement weather as it was snowing" for two days in the area, sources said.
Search parties were launched and soldiers of the army made contact with the terrorists at 1 pm on April 1 and recovered five bags but lost contact with the terrorists. Additional troops were brought in and the area was cordoned.
On April 3, soldiers picked up the trail again at 4:30 pm and again at 6:30 pm on April 4, sources said.
Given the terrain and the challenges in the operation, the army called in Para Special Forces, the most highly trained infantry soldiers at its disposal.
"Based on visuals from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, special troops staged forward to the nearest Battalion Headquarters by air [helicopter]" as the battalion remains cut-off because of heavy snow in the area, sources said.
"At first light on 5 April, one squad following the footsteps on the snow failed to realise that they were on a cornice", they added. The cornice broke and the soldiers of the Special Forces squad fell into a stream.
"As luck would have it, where they fell, the terrorists were sitting right there. This led to a firefight, a close quarter battle at virtually point blank range," sources said.
Despite the fall, the Army Special Forces were able to engage the group of terrorists. "All five terrorists were killed. However, the complete squad, five in all, were killed in action," sources said.
The bodies of the soldiers and the terrorists were found within two to three metres of each other.
Soldiers who lost their lives in the encounter called Op Randori Behak (Kupwara) are:
1. Sub Sanjeev Kumar, a resident of Himachal Pradesh
2. Hav. Davendra Singh, from Uttarakhand
3. Sepoy Bal Krishan from Himachal Pradesh
4. Sepoy Amit Kumar from Utarakhand
5. Sepoy Chhatrapal Singh from Rajasthan