Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Singh asserted that security forces are determined to wipe out terrorism from the region.
The officer said security agencies are making twice the effort to thwart the attempts to push terrorists from across the border.
“Two or three groups of terrorists are believed to be present in the (Pir Panjal) region. Each group comprises two to three terrorists but divulging their exact number is difficult,” Singh said.
A prolonged encounter between terrorists and security forces has been ongoing in Rajouri since Saturday.
During the operation, a suspected Pakistani terrorist, dressed in combat uniform, was neutralized, and a substantial cache of arms and ammunition, including an AK assault rifle and two pistols, were seized.
“Some terrorists were noticed in the Gundah-Khawas village of Budhal and, accordingly, a police party rushed to the village, besides informing the Army. When a cordon-and-search operation was launched, the terrorists opened fire, which was retaliated by the joint troops of the police, Army and the CRPF, resulting in the killing of a terrorist,” Singh said.
The slain terrorist is believed to be from Pakistan and it was evident from the material, including medicines and shoes, recovered from him, he added.
“One more terrorist is present in the village and an encounter is on,” he said, adding the seizure from the encounter scene, including raincoats and food items, indicated that they were trained to survive in jungle conditions.
He highlighted the recent successful operations in which six terrorists were eliminated in various encounters. Among these encounters, four terrorists were neutralized in the Surankote area of Poonch on July 18.
He expressed concern over the continuous attempts to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere by infiltrating terrorists from across the border into the Indian side. These efforts to push terrorists into the region are ongoing without any signs of abatement, he said.
“We are making double efforts to thwart their attempts and wipe out terrorism from the region,” Singh said.
Singh said strict action is being taken against overground workers of the terror groups. “Several of them have already been booked under the Public Safety Act while we are also keeping a constant vigil on suspected persons.”
“Action will be taken against any overground worker whose linkage will be established during the investigation of the latest encounter,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, a terrorist was gunned down when a combined team of J&K police, Army, and CRPF initiated a cordon-and-search operation in response to information about the presence of terrorists in the Khawas area of Jammu region’s Rajouri district.
The shootout marked an escalation in counter-terrorism operations after three soldiers died and two of their colleagues were wounded in an ambush on a 34 Rashtriya Rifles team while they were setting up a tent in the thick mountainside forests of Halan in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Friday evening.
Over the course of three years since 2021, J&K has recorded 29 military fatalities from terrorist attacks, including 13 this year alone, underscoring the ongoing challenges in the region’s security landscape.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant-governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday that the era of separatist and terror organisations disrupting normal life in the Valley on Pakistan’s prodding has been relegated to pages of history.
Sinha said development and peace are the buzzword here four years after the abrogation of Article 370.
(With agency inputs)