Drones, choppers hunt militants amid questions on SOP ‘violation’

A security official said a search operation is on by the Army and the police in the dense forests of the Bhatta Durrian in Mendhar area of Poonch district.

Published: 22nd April 2023 07:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2023 07:12 AM   |  A+A-

Poonch terror attack

Army officers carry the mortal remains of 5 soldiers who were killed in a terrorist attack for the wreath laying ceremony, in Poonch district, on April 21, 2023. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR:  A day after five Indian Army soldiers were killed in an ambush by militants on their vehicle in the border district of Poonch in J&K, security forces have launched a massive search operation by using drones and choppers to track down the militants.

Security experts, however, have questioned why the standard operating procedure was not followed and why a single Army vehicle was allowed to ply on the road without deployment of Road Opening Party (ROP).

A security official said a search operation is on by the Army and the police in the dense forests of the Bhatta Durrian in Mendhar area of Poonch district. The vehicle was moving between Bhimber Gali and Poonch in Rajouri sector.

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The martyred soldiers were identified as Havaldar Mandeep Singh, Lance Naik Kulwant Singh, Sepoy Harkrishan Singh, and Sepoy Sewak Singh, all from Punjab, and Lance Naik Debashish Baswal from Odisha. The official said it is suspected that at least six heavily armed militants were involved in the attack as the vehicle was hit by bullets from all sides.

A team of NIA officials also visited the spot to assist in the investigation. He said it is also being investigated whether steel bullets to pierce BP jackets were used by militants in the ambush. Meanwhile, former J&K police chief S P Vaid questioned why the army did not follow the SOP. Why only a single Army vehicle was moving and why ROP was not deployed? As per SOP, the army vehicles have to ply in a convoy with ROPs manning the road,” he said. “Intelligence agencies had given their report and it was the responsibility of the security agencies on ground to work on these inputs,” he said. 


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