SRINAGAR: Five soldiers of the Indian army and a BSF jawan were killed after three avalanches hit Jammu and Kashmir since Monday night, police and defence sources said.
The soldiers were trapped under snow after the avalanche hit the Machil sector near Line of Control (LoC). At least 12 persons — five army men and a BSF jawan, an army porter and five civilians — were killed in separate snow avalanches in Kashmir after two days heavy snowfall in the region.
The Army said that the higher reaches of Gurez, Bandipur, Kupwara, Naugaon and Baramula areas of North Kashmir where the troops are deployed have received heavy snowfall in the last 48 hours.
The lowest temperature (-57 degrees Celsius) in areas of deployment was at North Glacier (Siachen).
“Over 32 snow slides have been reported in the vicinity of army posts. However, alert and well-rehearsed drills have saved numerous lives and loss of property. Major tragedy and losses have been averted by alert troops in North Kashmir and Ladakh region,” said an Army officer on the condition of anonymity.
Soldiers in Gurez’s Kanzalwan were saved after 200 troops stationed in the area moved to a safer location before being hit by a snow slide. In Tangdhar and Gulmarg sectors, 14 soldiers who came under a snow slide were rescued.
Colonel HS Chauhan (Retd) former president of Indian Mountaineering Foundation, apex body on mountaineering said these are the operational hazards but, “The Army takes precaution by re-siting the posts and also redeploys along the infiltration routes under such conditions.”
Reports of heavy snowfall and avalanches were received from Kullan village in Kangan in Ganderbal district on Monday evening.
BSF spokesman N S Doparai said six BSF men were rescued while the body of a border guard trapped under the snow was recovered.
He identified the deceased BSF jawan as Ganga Bara from West Bengal.
The army porter killed was identified as Fakeer Khan. Deceased civilians were identified as Mohammad Sadiq Theckry, Showkat Ahmad Theckry, and Ishtiyaq Ahmad Theckry.