SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: A day after the fifth death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru, four persons, including two soldiers, were killed in a suicide attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad militants in the heavily fortified Sunjuwan Army camp in Jammu. Two militants in battle fatigues were also killed.
J&K Minister for Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs Abdur Rehman Veeri told the Legislative Assembly in Jammu that two soldiers were killed and six others, including some civilians, injured.
Army sources in Delhi said one of the soldiers killed was honorary Lieutenant Madan Lal Choudhary. The other was a JCO, Mohammad Ashraf Mir.
Among the civilians who died was the daughter of an Army officer. Gunfire could be heard from inside the camp till late Saturday evening. Army helicopters were also flying over the military station.
Sources said 3-4 heavily armed militants wearing army combat uniforms barged into the military station (36 Brigade) at Sunjuwan around 4.10 am from the rear side by cutting the concertina wires.
They said once inside the camp, the militants split into groups and ran in different directions amidst continuous gunfire.
Sources said one group forced its entry into the family quarters after firing from their automatic weapons and lobbing grenades. The Army’s Quick Reaction Teams were pressed into service to flush out the militants.
NC MLA raises pro-Pak slogan in Assembly
National Conference MLA and former Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone stirred a controversy when he chanted pro-Pakistan slogans in the Legislative Assembly on Saturday. Lone chanted pro-Pakistan slogans after ruling BJP members shouted anti-Pakistan slogans over the Jammu fidayeen attack. It all started when Speaker Kavinder Gupta of the BJP alleged that the presence of Rohingya Muslim refugees near the camp led to the attack. He said the Rohingya Muslims posed a security threat and there was a possibility of their involvement. BJP members immediately began chanting anti-Pakistan slogans. Lone stood up and started shouting pro-Pakistan slogans. NC president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said Lone’s actions were completely unacceptable. Fayaz Wani
The security establishment, particularly the higher echelons of the Army, were introspecting after criticism of its inability to guard its own establishments that includes family quarters, such as Sunjuwan with soldiers and their families of the 36 Brigade.
The government “has sanctioned `1,487 crore to the army for perimeter security”, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted even as gunshots could be heard from outside the camp that was also attacked in 2013.
The attack follows a pattern: as in Kaluchak at the height of Operation Parakram—the India-Pakistan military stand-off in 2002.
Following the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament, militants had entered the camp. At that time an NDA government (headed by Atal Behari Vajpayee) was in power. The Modi administration has been even more emphatic in its rhetoric to guarantee security.
But in the last two years the pattern repeated itself in Pathankot and in Uri where too the terrorists managed to enter Army and/or air force bases. After the attack on the Uri garrison, the Army announced “surgical strikes” on terror camps in PoK on September 29, 2016. Those strikes have failed to deter ceasefire violations and raids by militants.
After the January 2016 Pathankot attack, the government formed a committee headed by the former vice chief of army staff, Lt General Philip Campose (retired). The committee recommended greater use of technology, like sensors, arming guards with more modern weapons and a sensitive intelligence network because, as Campose subsequently wrote, it was impossible to seal the Line of Control through which Pakistan-backed militants entered.
Yet, the government has not substantially increased the capital budget in this year’s defence allocations that total `2,94,427 crore, barely 1.82 per cent of the GDP. The defence establishment had asked for allocations of up to 2.5 per cent of the GDP.