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Village Defence Guard killed in Udhampur encounter

‘3 terrorists spotted; area cordoned’ ‘Massive search operation underway to track, neutralise 2 freshly infiltrated terror groups’
01:35 AM Apr 29, 2024 IST | SHUCHISMITA
village defence guard killed in udhampur encounter
Udhampur, Apr 28: Police personnel pay lasts respect to the mortal remains of VDG member namely Mohd Sharief, who was killed in the firing between terrorists and police at Basantgarh area, in Udhampur on Sunday. ANI

Jammu, Apr 28:  A Village Defence Guard (VDG) was killed in an exchange of fire during an encounter between police personnel and terrorists, hiding in Chochru Gala heights in Basantgarh area of Udhampur district, on Sunday morning.


Following the gun-battle, Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel along with army and CRPF immediately cordoned the entire area. A massive search operation was launched to flush out the holed-up terrorists, believed to be three in number.


During the ongoing parliamentary electoral exercise, this is the second major terror activity in Jammu region. Earlier on April 22, a government employee was killed in Rajouri by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) affiliated terrorists.


The encounter on Sunday ensued when a team from Police picket Sang along with VDGs, following an input about the presence of terrorists, was proceeding towards Chochru Gala heights. At around 7.45 am, this team came under fire from hiding terrorists. Police team too returned the fire and in the ensuing exchange of gunfire, one of VDGs, accompanying police personnel, sustained critical injuries.


Later in the day, injured VDG, identified as Muhammad Sharief, 48, son of Abdul Rehman, resident of Lower Ponar, Basantgarh, succumbed to his injuries.


“So far three terrorists have been spotted. Besides, the movement of one more group has been noticed. Operation is underway to track and neutralise these two groups. Reinforcement has already reached the spot and the whole area has been cordoned off. Searches are on,” said Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Jammu Anand Jain, who along with senior police officers, including Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Udhampur, Joginder Singh, was monitoring the Cordon and Search Operation (CASO).


Jain stated that the total number of terrorists might be between four-to-six. “Since investigation is underway, this cannot be said with certainty yet the total number may be between four-to-six. Both groups are presumed to be freshly-infiltrated,” he said.


ADGP Jain, while responding to the media queries about the encounter, said, “On Saturday evening, we received information about the presence of terrorists in this area (Basantgarh). The input was not very specific. As the general area is quite vast so following this input, J&K Police activated the security grid all across (this area). We activated VDGs. When VDGs along with our SPOs started patrolling as a part of area domination exercise, hiding terrorists opened fire on them.” “Our patrolling team too retaliated in equal measure. However, in the exchange of fire, one of our personnel (VDG) was martyred. Immediately, the whole area was cordoned and presently, a massive search operation is underway,” Jain said.

He stated that the hiding terrorists were a part of a freshly infiltrated group and the security grid was activated to track them.

“However, during the process, one of our companions lost his life in the line of duty. We are proud of his sacrifice. We salute our martyr, his courage and valour, he displayed in the line of duty,” Jain said.

Responding to a query about the affiliation of the terrorist-group, he said, “The identity of this group, its affiliation is yet to be ascertained. Area is being sanitised. Additional deployment too has been made.”

“This is general input. So far, investigation is underway to find out their infiltration route through which they have managed to sneak in. It (crossing-route) is being identified,” ADGP replied to the queries as to whether they (terrorists) crossed through Kathua border.

When asked about the reports that the terrorists had used the same weapon which was used in the Dhangri terror attack, Jain stated, “This is also still a matter of investigation as to which weapon they have used.”

“So far, fresh contact was not established but operation was underway,” ADGP said.