Kathua, J&K: Terrorists dressed in army fatigues today attacked first a police station and then an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir this morning, killing 12 people, among them a Lieutenant Colonel of the Indian Army.
The audacious attack comes just three days before the Prime Minister meets his Pakistani counterpart in the US. Dr Manmohan Singh has called it "one more attack and barbarism by enemies of peace" and made it clear that his plans remain unchanged. "We will not allow it to derail our attempts to find resolution through the dialogue process," he said in a statement. (PM says J&K attacks won't derail dialogue with Pak) | (Read full statement)
"Four terrorists entered Jammu region from across the border this morning," said Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, quoting preliminary reports, according to PTI. The news agency also quotes the Army as saying that it foiled a major infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Keran sector of Kupwara yesterday and that around 30 militants are still believed to be trapped as security forces have cordoned off the area.
The heavily armed terrorists attacked the Hiranagar police station in Kathua district of J&K at about 6.45 this morning. They shot the sentry outside and three cops inside the police station and then escaped in a truck that they hijacked, to surface in an Army cantonment in the adjoining Samba district. (How terrorists stormed J&K police station, army camp) | (Timeline)
At the camp, they reportedly walked into the officer's mess shouting jihadi slogans and killed at least five unarmed Armymen, including the Lt Col, who was the second in command of the 16 Cavalry, the armoured corp unit attacked today. The Lieutenant Colonel was reportedly shot in the stomach at point back range.
A gun battle is still on. Army choppers are hovering over the site. CRPF and police personnel have joined the Army in the attempt to flush out the fidayeen or suicide attackers; two of them have reportedly been killed.
The commanding officer of 16 Cavalry is among over a dozen people injured in the two attacks. He has been shot twice and is in critical condition.
BJP president Rajnath Singh said, "The PM is in a hurry to start dialogue with Pakistan. There should be no talks with Pakistan unless there is a conducive environment." Mr Singh accused Pakistan of "continuing with its strategy to strike at will through a proxy war of terror." (J&K attacks: PM in 'hurry' to start talks with Pak, says BJP)
But Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said the terror attacks today were clearly aimed at derailing the proposed dialogue between the two PMs and that not going ahead with the talks would mean "the militants have won." (Attacks aimed at derailing PM-Nawaz Sharif talks, says Omar Abdullah)
"The best answer is to convey our concerns to Pakistan strongly. What stops us from taking a hard line," Mr Abdullah said to NDTV.