Security forces gunned down four terrorists in a swift operation after an encounter broke out at Ban Toll Plaza on Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Nagrota in Jammu district in the early hours of Thursday. Two policemen of the Special Operations Group were also injured in the exchange of fire. They have been identified as Kuldeep Raj (32) of Akhnoor in Jammu district and Mohammad Ishaq Malik (40) of Neel Qasim Banihal in Ramban district. Both have been admitted in Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu with neck injuries. Their condition is said to be stable.
The encounter between terrorists and security forces started around 4.50 am at Ban Toll Plaza on Jammu-Srinagar national highway.
Inspector-General of Police, Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh said that the truck was ferrying the terrorists to Kashmir.
“It was put to checking by the policemen at the toll plaza because we had intelligence inputs with us,” Singh said. He further said, “in the exchange of fire four terrorists were eliminated and two constables were injured. Terrorists lobbed grenades on security forces during checking. The truck also caught fire and few grenades also exploded inside it during the exchanges”.
“The area is now being sanitised” he added. The IGP informed that in the run-up to the DDC elections, security forces were getting intelligence inputs of possible infiltration by Pakistan terrorists.
“This morning when the truck was stopped for checking at the toll plaza, the driver fled from the spot and as soon as a joint team of police and the CRPF started checking the vehicle, a heavy volume of firing commenced,” he said. Security forces immediately started retaliating. The terrorists also lobbed grenades at the security personnel, he added.
In the three-hour-long operation, all four terrorists were eliminated, he said and added that 11 AK 47 rifles, three pistols, 29 live grenades, six UBGL grenades, mobile phones, compass, pithy bags and other ammunition were recovered from the slain terrorists.
The slain ultras belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad terror outfit. “It appeared that they were given a task to carry out a major terror strike,” Singh stated.
It seemed they also adopted the similar modus-operandi of infiltrating from across the International Border (IB) in Jammu region before boarding a Kashmir-bound truck on Pathankot-Jammu national highway the preceding night, said a senior police officer.
“However, forces eliminated them in a swift operation,” he added. He further said it appeared the terrorists entered through fresh infiltration from Samba sector.
Earlier, Jammu district police chief SSP Shridhar Patil told HT that “around 5 am some terrorists opened fire at security forces near Ban Toll Plaza in Nagrota area. They were hiding in a vehicle.”
CRPF spokesman Shivnandan Singh said, like January 31 this year, a group of terrorists had opened fire on a joint party of police and CRPF at Ban Toll plaza around 5 am on Thursday. “They probably came in a vehicle,” he added.
Meanwhile, advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, visited GMC Jammu and met the jawans who suffered injuries while fighting with the terrorists in Nagrota encounter this morning.
During his visit, Bhatnagar asked the medical officers about the condition of both the jawans. He directed the medical superintendent to ensure that the injured jawans be given the best possible medical care and directed constant monitoring of the injured personnel. He complimented the injured jawans for their bravery and assured all assistance to them.
On January 31, a group of terrorists had opened fire at a police team near Ban Toll Plaza, triggering a gunfight in which three ultras were killed and a policeman got injured.