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Nagrota Attack: Lapses That Helped the Terrorists Sneak into Army Camp

Shreya Dhoundial | CNN-News18

Updated: December 1, 2016, 7:52 PM IST
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New Delhi: A toll booth left unmanned because of the note ban, a guard who left his post, and four terrorists hiding in plain sight. These and many more lapses helped the terrorists launch the attack on the Nagrota Army base with devastating effect.

Information available with CNN-News18 two days after the attack shows the terrorists may have had an easy run as they travelled undetected 85 km by road and then scaled the perimeter wall at the camp with a rope.

Also Read: Irresponsible Statement by Ministers Sparked Nagrota Attack, Says Omar Abdullah

The toll booth four km before the XVI CORPS HQ was left unmanned and its CCTV was not working because toll collection had stopped post the Centre’s demonetisation announcement.

Once in Nagrota, the terrorists camped in the jungle behind the camp through Monday, closely observing the mess and the quarters. The terrorists then entered the 166th Artillery Regiment mess from the rear of the camp, scaling the perimeter wall using a rope without getting spotted as the guard on duty had left his LMG at the post and gone to take a leak.

An LMG post is usually manned by two men. The question is where was the other guard?

Once inside, the terrorists split up, two went to the mess, one made a beeline to the tower while one remained at the rear and waited for the guard to come back.

Also Read: Uri Attacker Provided Police Uniform, Intel to Jaish Men

Once he spotted him, the terrorist pinned the guard down with the LMG he left behind signaling the start of the 12-hour long encounter. Twelve hours of horror that endangered the lives not just of soldiers but also their families present inside.

The terrorist who had stayed back at the rear end, crossed over to the other end of the perimeter wall and started firing from there to confuse the troops. The firing continued intermittently for a long time, one or two shots fired at a time.

Also Read: Terrorists Dug Tunnel to Enter Army Camp, Reveals Probe

By the time the battle was over, three terrorists had been gunned down, seven army men had been martyred. The fate of the fourth terrorist is unknown.

The toll would have been higher had it not been for the remarkable presence of mind shown by two officers’ wives in the block where the terrorists were holed up in. They locked themselves in their rooms and fortified it with household items, thus making it very difficult for the terrorists to get to them. They also gave their babies cough syrup and put them to sleep so that they didn't cry and alert the attackers.

Forty eight hours on, the mood at the Nagrota Army camp is one of anguish and anger. Anguish at losing seven of their comrades and anger at the complacency that had led to the attack.

First Published: December 1, 2016, 6:33 PM IST
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