Four CRPF soldiers killed in two separate encounters in North Kashmir
Srinagar, Feb15:For the second time in the last three days Indian army suffered heavy casualties when four of its soldiers including a major were killed and 11 others, including a Major and Commandant of 45th battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), sustained injuries in two separate encounters in North Kashmir.
Four militants including top Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Abu Haris, who had taken over the command after the killing of Abu Musaib –the nephew of Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi , was gunned down in the two encounters.
Haris was killed in an encounter at Hajin in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district while another ultra is suspected to have escaped from the spot. Three ultras were killed in Kralgund village of Handwara in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Acting on specific intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in Parray Moholla, a joint team of 13 Rashtriya Riffles, 45th battalion of CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a cordon and search operation.
Sources said when the troops were moving towards a targeted house, militants charged grenades and opened fire on the search party.
“Three soldiers have been martyred and five others are injured. One terrorist has also been killed. Operation has been terminated,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.
The three martyrs have been identified as Paratrooper Dharmendra Kumar of village Pataliya, Nainital in Uttarkhand, Riffleman Ravi Kumar of Meen Sarkar Tabela, Samba in J&K and Gunner Astosh Kumar of Sultanpur, Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh.
A CRPF commandant Chetan Cheetah was leading the team and was among the firsts to be hit. Cheetah was immediately shifted to 92 base hospital in a critical condition.
“He (Cheetah) has been operated upon, and we are taking him to Delhi. He was leading the party which took the first blow. There was information following which they (security forces) launched the cordon,” said Rajesh Yadav, CRPF spokesman in Kashmir.
“They (militants) came out using civilians as cover and lobbed grenades and opened fire. We could not fire because civilians were there,” Sheikh Zulfikar Azad, senior superintendent of police, Bandipora told DNA.
In the second encounter of the day security forces killed three top militants in Kralgund village of Handwara in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district. An army major also sustained injuries in the incident.