At least four civilians were killed and six were injured after unidentified armed men, in a suspected terror attack, indiscriminately opened fire in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Sunday evening, police said.
While a senior police officer, later in the day, said the incident was a terror attack, additional director general of police (ADGP) Mukesh Singh said it was yet to be confirmed.
The firing near Ram Temple at Upper Dangri village came close on the heels of an encounter at Sidhra, on the outskirts of Jammu City, on December 28 when security forces gunned down four terrorists and said they averted a terror attack.
Providing details of Sunday’s attack, ADGP Singh said: “A firing incident happened at Upper Dangri village. Firing took place at three houses, separated at a distance of around 50 metres from each other. Three civilians have succumbed to injuries and four others are injured.”
A search operation is underway in the area, he added. Earlier, the ADGP said that the attack was allegedly carried out by two armed men.
The deceased were identified as Deepak Kumar (23), Satish Kumar (45), Pritam Lal (56) and Shiv Pal (32). Those injured were identified as Pawan Kumar (38), Rohit Pandit (35), Saroj Bala (35), Sushil Kumar (40), Shub Sharma (20) and Urvashi Sharma (17).
According to eyewitnesses, some people carrying guns arrived in a car and opened fire before fleeing from the spot. “Around nine to 10 people were injured in the firing. Out of them, three were declared dead at the hospital. Others have suffered multiple injuries. Two of them are currently in the operation theatre,” a local resident said, seeking anonymity.
The injured are undergoing treatment at Associated Hospital. Officials in the hospital said the injured suffered multiple bullet injuries. “Three people were killed and seven were injured in the firing incident in Dangri area of Rajouri. The injured are undergoing treatment. The police and district administration have reached the spot. Multiple bullet injuries were found on the body of the injured,” hospital medical superintendent Dr Mehmood said.
On December 28, at least four armed terrorists were killed inside a truck during an encounter with security forces at Sidhra. A high alert has been sounded in the region ahead of Republic Day.
Seven AK-47 rifles, one M4 rifle, three pistols along with other ammunition were recovered from their possession, according to police.
On Saturday, Kashmir additional director general of police (ADGP) Vijay Kumar said a total of 172 terrorists were killed in 93 encounters with security forces last year. The deceased included 42 foreigners.
“During the year 2022, a total of 93 successful encounters took place in Kashmir in which 172 terrorists, including 42 foreign terrorists, were neutralised,” he said in a series of tweets, calling it a “major gain” in the anti-terror operations.
“All chiefs and top commanders of terror outfits neutralised, except Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)’s chief Farooq Nalli and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Reeyaz Sethri and both would be neutralised soon,” he added.
Of the slain terrorists, 108 belonged to LeT or its offshoot, The Resistance Front (TRF), followed by 35 from Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), 22 from HM, four from Al-Badr and three from Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGuH), he said.
Meanwhile, terror attacks and encounters claimed the lives of 26 security forces personnel, including 14 Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel, last year.
“During the year, total 26 security forces personnel, including 14 J&K Police personnel attained martyrdom during terror attacks/encounters. Majority of terrorists involved in these terror crimes have been neutralised,” he said, adding that 29 civilians were killed by terrorists in the Valley last year.
Of the 29 civilian casualties, 21 – six Hindus, including three Kashmiri Pandits, and 15 Muslims – were local residents and eight were from other states. “All terrorists involved in these terror crimes have been neutralised, except Basit Dar & Adil Wani who will be neutralised soon,” he said.
On terror recruitments, Kumar said: “Out of 65 newly recruited terrorists killed this year, 58 (89%) were neutralised within the first month of their joining.”
“This year (2022), 100 fresh recruitments into terrorist ranks were reported, showing a decline of 37% compared to last year,” he added.