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Anantnag encounter day 6: Body of missing Army man recovered, charred body also found, toll 6

 Anantnag encounter day 6: Body of missing Army man recovered, charred body also found, toll 6

No clarity on terrorists’ killing, op to continue Tuesday; Charred body beyond recognition, will go for DNA test to confirm identity; 81 including 33 local terrorists active in Kashmir’

Jahangeer Ganaie

Anantnag, Sep 18 (KNO): The ongoing encounter at Gadool area of Kokernag hamlet of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district entered the 6th straight day on Monday, with security forces recovering the body of the missing Army personnel. There is no also clarity about the killing of any terrorist in the ongoing operation as one charred body has been recovered.

An official told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that the body of Army personnel Pradeep, who had been missing alongside Major Ashish on Wednesday last week, was recovered on Monday and is being transported back. This takes the toll in the encounter, including the unidentified charred body, to six.

While the Army is using the latest gadgets and weapons, there is no concrete evidence of whether the terrorists are still hiding in the area or have managed to flee.

The official said that intermittent firing was witnessed throughout the day (on Monday) and the combining operation in the area is likely to continue on Tuesday as well.

He said the para-commandos along with additional 20 companies of forces have been deployed in the area to search for terrorists hiding in the dense forests. The movement is being monitored closely by helicopters, he said.

During the joint security operation, we used grenade launchers and shells on suspected terrorist hideout locations using drones, but as of now, there is no confirmation about the killing of any terrorist as so far a single charred body beyond recognition has been recovered, he said, adding that they will likely go for DNA sampling to confirm the identity.

The official said that civilians living close to the area have been already evacuated to safer places and the drones including Herons have been pressed into action to find and neutralise the hiding terrorists.

“There is no confirmation whether any terrorist has been killed so far given the tough terrain and forest area,” he added.

On Saturday, Northern Army Commander Lt General Upendra Dwivedi visited the encounter site and reviewed the operational situation of the ongoing operation.

The encounter at Gadool forests is turning out to be the biggest one given the involvement of tough terrain and erratic weather conditions.

Official sources told KNO that there are 81 militants active in Kashmir division and among them, 33 are locals while the rest are non-locals.

Pertinently, on Wednesday, during the initial exchange of fire, Colonel Manpreet Singh, who was the Commanding Officer of 19 RR, Major Aashish Dhonchak and DySP Humayun Bhat, the son of former DIG Kashmir Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, were killed.

On Thursday, the operation continued in which two soldiers received injuries and were shifted to hospital for treatment. On Friday, the body of a soldier, who had been missing since Wednesday during the gunfight with terrorists, was recovered from the encounter site.

The Kokernag encounter is the biggest since August 5 this year in south Kashmir when three soldiers of Army’s 34 RR were killed in Halan Manzgam forest area of Kulgam district. On March 30, 2020, five security personnel-including a Colonel, a Major and a Sub-Inspector were killed in an 18-hour-long encounter in north Kashmir’s Handwara.

This was the first encounter in the district in around the last four months as in May contact was established with terrorists in Sagam area of Kokernag. However, they later managed to give slip to forces.

This year so far, 51 terrorists have been killed in J&K and among them 41 were foreigners and 10 were locals. Officials said that around 20 security forces were killed this year in terrorist attacks and encounters this year—(KNO)

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