Jammu,11 May:In an encounter that foiled a suicide attack on Army, security forces shot dead two holed-up militants who killed a photo-journalist and five others in Samba in Jammu and Kashmir today and rescued five persons taken as hostages after a 12-hour long fierce gun-battle."We have successfully eliminated two heavily armed militants, who not only attempted to storm an army formation of family quarters but also fought a 12-hour-long battle with the joint operation party at a heavily congested locality in Samba," General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 9 Corps Lt Gen Vinay Sharma told reporters.Ashok Sodhi, a senior photojournalist with local English newspaper ‘Daily Excelsior’ and three other civilians including two women were killed while two jawans also lost their lives in the major encounter which occured in Jammu after a long gap.Three women and two children were rescued by security forces after they were held in captivity by the militants in a home of a villager.
The militants from Lashker-e-Toiba were believed to be among the group who may have infiltrated from Pakistan into Samba through the international border last Friday though the BSF beat back the armed intruders.Gen Sharma said the militants were planning suicide attack on an Army formation on the pattern of storming family quarters in Kaluchak area in 2001 in which 31 jawans and family members were killed.
As many as 15 persons, including six policemen, seven armymen and two civilians were injured during the gunbattle.They included Superintendent of Police Mubasar Latifi, Major B Chouhan and a Lieutenant Colonel.All the injured were hospitalised and three are serious including the Major.Complimenting his guards at Zorawar family quarters in which two army guards were injured while beating back the attack to storm the army formation, Gen Sharma said their altertness saved the Army from a repeat of Kaluchak .
Flanked by Inspector General of Police (Jammu zone) K Rajendra, IG BSF A K Saprolia, Gen Sharma said the militants had actually infiltrated to this side to carry out a suicide attack on Army formation and enact a kaluchak like situation.However after their designs were foiled by the alert guards at 0610 hours in the morning, the militants entered a village and fired at a family of a local politician Hoshiyar Singhand killed him and his wife Shashi Bala, a government employee and injured his daughter Bindu Devi and mother-in-law Darshana Devi.
Later they entered into the house of one Suresh Kumar and shot dead a woman there.They took hostage five people, including three women and two children at 0700 hours, Sharma said.Army’s quick reaction teams, Police and BSF rushed to the spot and cordoned off the entire area and launched a operation to track down the militants, he said.Armed with grenade launchers and heavy weaponry, militants fought pitched battles with the security forces in which two jawans were killed.After freeing the hostages, Army stormed the holed-up area and used mortar fire to kill the two militants who fired nearly 32 grenades and also used heavy weaponry.
It was a most difficult operation in a densely populated hamlet having around 200 houses, Sharma said.