Three terrorists attacked a police station and an army camp in Jammu region on Thursday, indiscriminately firing and killing 12 people, including a Lieutenant Colonel, and injuring several people. After their attack on the police station, the trio hijacked a truck that was lying just outside the building and took the highway towards Samba.
On the way, they reportedly shot dead the truck’s cleaner, Feroz Ahmed, but spared the driver, Abdul Salam, who later provided important details of the attack and the attackers to the police.
The terrorists let off Salam and hijacked a car at gunpoint at Samba and made their way to the army camp. Once there, the three militants found the main gate to the camp heavily guarded and hence moved towards another smaller gate a little away. There they shot dead the lone sentry, identified as Sepoy Krishna Kumar, who belonged to Kerala.
They scaled the gate and went to the officers’ mess, where they shot dead the 61 Cavalry armoured unit’s second-in-command Lt Col Bikramjeet Singh, who was from Chandigarh, from a close range.
The commanding officer of the unit, Colonel A Utthaya, who belongs to Karnataka, too was shot in the chest. He was rushed to a military hospital after the gunfight ended. He is now said to be in critical condition. “All the three militants have been killed in the Samba army camp. Three army men including a high rank officer are dead,” Army spokesman for the Nagrota-based 16 Corps, Col Rajesh Kalia, said. However, Jammu and Kashmir police chief Ashok Prasad said only two army men were killed. He said besides the Lieutenant Colonel, another army soldier was killed. “The bodies of the militants were found and we are trying to identify them,” he said.
“NSG’s services were not sought. The choppers were used to airlift injured soldiers. Initial investigation has revealed that these militants had infiltrated from across the border and they belong to Lashkar-e-Toiba,” he said. Home Minister Shinde, in Delhi, claimed the attackers entered from Pakistan.
Prime Minister Singh, in a statement from Frankfurt, where he had a halt on his way to US, said, “Such attacks will not deter us and will not succeed in derailing our efforts to find a resolution to all problems through a process of dialogue”.
Conveying his condolences to the families he said: “This is one more in a series of provocations and barbaric actions by the enemies of peace.”
In an obvious reference to Pakistan, he said: “We are firmly resolved to combat and defeat the terrorist menace that continues to receive encouragement and reinforcement from across the border.”
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed the attack as an “attempt aimed at derailing ongoing peace process”.