3 militants killed, 4 civilians injured in Uri gunfight: Army

DGP Vaid says militants wanted to carry out 2016-type attack

ALTAF BABA/ ABID BASHIR
Baramulla/ Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 24 2017 11:46PM | Updated Date: Sep 25 2017 1:40AM
3 militants killed, 4 civilians injured in Uri gunfight: ArmyFile Photo

Three militants were killed while an army soldier and four civilians injured in a gunfight between militants and the army in Uri area of Baramulla district on Sunday, officials said. Two residential houses also suffered damage during the gun-battle, they said.

The injured civilians were identified as Abdul Hamid Khan, Muhammad Rafiq, Subeena Begum and Imran Hussain. Two of them were shifted to Baramulla district hospital for specialised treatment, an official said.

The militants are believed to be part of a group that “might have” infiltrated recently and were planning to launch some major attack in the area, said RT Kalita, general officer commanding of army’s 19 infantry division at Baramulla.

In an official statement issued this evening, police said: “Yesterday at about 2100 hours, some civilians informed police about suspicious movement of some non-local militants who were heavily-armed in Kalgi area of Salamabad, Uri.”

“After receiving this information, a joint search operation was launched by Army, Police and CRPF in the area. During night hours, it was found that one of the militants had forcibly entered into a civilian home and had taken the family members as hostage,” the spokesman said. “In the early morning the civilians were rescued and the militant was eliminated. Hunt for two other militants was launched and one militant was found to have taken refuge in a local mosque. Therefore keeping in view the sanctity of the mosque, a J&K police team entered into the mosque and without causing any harm to mosque, eliminated this militant as well. The third militant was also killed later on.”

“With killing of all the three militants who appear to be Pakistanis, a major militant attack was averted. The group has recently infiltrated from Pakistani side of LOC,” the spokesman said.

In Srinagar, director general of police SP Vaid said that the militants killed in the Uri gunfight were planning a “major strike” on the army base on the pattern of one seen in September last year.

On September 20 last year, a group of heavily-armed militants barged into army headquarters in Uri and fired indiscriminately, leading to killing of at least 18 soldiers.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of police-public mela at Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar, Vaid said that the police had a tip-off about presence of militants in Kaliga village of Uri that houses the army’s brigade headquarters.

“We have averted a major tragedy. The way a suicide attack was carried out on the army base last year, the group of militants killed in Uri today was planning a similar strike,” he said.

Before the militants could strike, police, army and the CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation and zeroed in on the militants, the DGP said. He, however, said that it was not clear whether the group was already in the area or has sneaked in recently.

On the police-public mela, Vaid said that it is a “small effort to bridge the gap between police and people.”