2 militants, JCO among six killed in Jammu encounter

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Jammu, Aug 27 (UNI) Terror struck the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir early this morning, when militants suspected to have infiltrated from the international border in the Kanhachak area yesterday killed four people, including an Army officer, and took six people, including four children, hostage in a house, official sources here said.

In a daylong battle that was still on in the Chinore area on the city outskirts, the security forces killed two of the militants, while the family of six, including four children, were held hostage by them in a house of one Billu Ram Bhagat, who was hospitalised due to a snakebite, the sources said.

''Two militants have been eliminated and the operation will continue whatever time it takes, as still one of the militants is inside the house,'' Inspector General of Police Jammu Zone K Rajindera told UNI.

Mr Rajindera, however, said, ''We presume that all the hostages, including four children, are safe as the security forces are doing their jobs, the operation will soon be successful.'' Billu Ram's wife and his four children aged between three and nine years were among the six hostages. They have been identified as Kajal 3, Vipin 4, Arshiyal 7, Sheetal 9, Sunita 35 and Ashok 26.

Police sources said a woman was earlier rescued from the house.

Earlier, the security personnel were planning to rescue the hostages without any loss of life as around three holed-up militants armed with AK-47 rifles and grenades engaged them in a fierce gunbattle that began at around 0530 hrs.

''In khaki uniform, the militants killed a JCO at a checkpost in theBantalab area, while travelling towards city side at around 0500 hrs. On the way, the militants shot at one motorcyclist, identified as Joginder Kumar, a policeman and wounded him critically. He was lying in a pool of blood, while three Army jawans were also injured and all of them have been hospitalised,'' police sources told UNI.

On reaching Chinore, the militants shot dead the driver of an auto-rickshaw, identified as Havaldar Vijay Kumar, who had come to his home on leave and one retired Subedar, identified as Naseeb Singh. Some labourers were also injured by the militants' firing in the area, the sources added.

One local septuagenarian, identified as Saras Ram, suffered fatal shock due to boom of guns, official sources said.

Preparing for the final assault against hidden militants, the security forces shifted people from the nearby areas to safer zones.

Heavy firing was exchanged between the militants and the Army troops, who cordoned off the suspected house.

The three militants are suspected to be the same, who had broken barbed fences and entered the Indian side from the Kanachak area in the Akhnoor sector here yesterday under a cover of firing from the Pakistani side in the Lalyal-Kanachak area of Jammu district, following which BSF launched a massive operation, official sources maintained.

A high alert was sounded across the city, while all entry and exit points were sealed and checking of vehicles intensified in the entire city area, police said.


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