Encounter under way in J&K’s Doda district, 1 cop hurt; 4th terror incident in 3 days

NEW DELHI: A policeman was injured on Wednesday evening when terrorists opened fire on a search party in a village in Gandoh area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district.
The firing was reported from the Kota top area of Bhalesa around 7.41pm to which security forces retaliated.
Reinforcements have been rushed to the area to strengthen the cordon, said officials.
This was the second terror-related incident in Doda in the last 24 hours and fourth in three days in Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier in the day, a senior police officer reported that a group comprising three to four terrorists was present in the higher reaches of the district. A search operation was underway to neutralize them despite the challenging terrain.
On Tuesday night, five troopers from the Rashtriya Rifles and a special police officer (SPO) were injured when terrorists attacked a joint check post in the upper reaches of Chattergalla on the Bhaderwah-Pathankot road.
“Over the past few days, we received intelligence reports of terrorist movements. Consequently, temporary posts manned by the army and police were set up in the higher reaches, along with check points on the interstate road,” deputy inspector general of police, Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban range, Shridhar Patil, told reporters.
Patil, supervising the anti-terrorist operation, said that the sentry at the Chattergalla pass, connecting Doda and Kathua districts, observed suspicious movement late Tuesday night and challenged the suspected individuals.
“The terrorists opened fire, leading to an exchange that lasted more than one-and-a-half hours. Our personnel fought bravely, and although some were injured, all are stable and out of danger,” Patil said.
He added that the area is being thoroughly combed using modern equipment, and there is hope of neutralizing the terrorist group soon. The group is believed to consist of three to four members.
Discussing the operational challenges, Patil noted that the mountainous terrain with thick forest cover requires tactical movement. The combing operation in such tough terrains takes time and must be conducted cautiously to avoid casualties.
Officials have suspended traffic movement on the busy Bhadarwah-Pathankot interstate highway due to the ongoing search and cordon operation in Chattergalla, Guldandi, Sarthal, Shankh Pader, and the Kailash mountain range.
(With inputs from agencies)

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