NAGROTA: It was not a routine morning for the residents of this tehsil, situated barely 25 km from Jammu city on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, as they woke up to loud thuds when heavily armed militants managed to barge into an army camp situated three kms away from the headquarters of the 16 Corps.
When the locals heard the initial gun shots they thought it was a "routine" practice session by the Army. However, when the firing intensified and was followed by blasts, they knew it was a terrorist attack in their area.
Today's incident was a first such major terrorist attack in Nagrota, with the local residents saying they never saw or heard about an attack of such a magnitude in the past.
"The entire Nagrota town is dotted with army cantonments as it is the headquarter of the 16 Corps of the Army, we are used to hearing firing sound as a firing range is nearby, but today it was unusual as the firing started at between 5 AM to 5:20 AM which was followed by heavy blasts," Manjit Singh, a local resident, said.
He said as soon as the intensity of the firing and blasts increased the residents came to know that it was a terrorist attack in any of the several army camps located in the area. "Soon we started seeing the movement of the army vehicles as the firing continued, when we came to know that terrorists had succeeded in entering the army camp here we left our houses and fled to safer locations," Girdhari Lal, another local resident, said.
He said the residents were worried about the militants making any attempts of entering installations of strategic importance. The entire market in the Nagrota township was closed whereas the administration also ordered the closure of all educational institutions in the area.
"We have ordered closure of all schools and education institutions in Nagrota tehsil in view of the terror attack," Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said. The local MLA of the area Devender Singh Rana also remained there since morning. "They are my people and hence it is my responsibility as their local MLA to look after them in their hour of crisis," Rana said.
Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta also visited the spot and said Pakistan has been aiding and abetting terrorism in India and with the change of guard of the Army chief in that country would not change its policy against India.