Srinagar: Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is slated to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York, terrorism has reared its ugly head in Jammu and Kashmir with two fresh terror attacks in Jammu and an infiltration bid which was foiled by Army in Kupwara.
Dressed in Army uniform, three terrorists attacked a police station and then an Army camp in Jammu region killing 12 people including a Lt Colonel after they sneaked in from across the border early on Thursday. Meanwhile, 12 terrorists were killed after Army foiled a major infiltration bid along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir's Kupwara district.
The three heavily armed terrorists, believed to be from banned Pakistan-based terror group LeT and who were holed up in the camp of the cavalry armoured unit at Samba for several hours after they barged into the Officers mess, have been killed during a fierce gunfight.
The bodies of the three terrorists aged between 16 and 19 are in the custody of the Army, Army officials said.
Jammu and Kashmir DGP Ashok Prasad said the terrorists had boarded an auto at gun point from Hariya Chuk graveyard in village Jhandi, barely one km from the International Border (IB), and asked the driver to take the vehicle to an Army camp at Hiranagar.
"The militants first attacked the police station where four policemen and two civilians were killed. They then used various vehicles to get to the Army base where operations began. The operations are over and all three militants have been killed, all the weapons with them are now in our custody." Army said.
The Home Ministry confirming that the attackers came from across the border in a pre-dawn attack.
Meanwhile, a major infiltration bid was foiled by Army and 10-12 terrorists were killed in the Kashmir on Thursday, General Officer Commanding 15 Corps Lieutenant General Gurmeet Singh said.
The Lt General said the troops at the Line of Control in the Keran sector of Kupwara district of north Kashmir spotted a group of 30 heavily armed terrorists trying to cross over to India from Pakistan and challenged them which was followed by a fierce gunbattle. "Heavy fire fighting is currently going on. Our forward troops have reported seeing 10 to 12 dead bodies of the terrorists," said Lt General Gurmeet Singh.
"The situation is under our control at the point of conflict. We had specific intelligence inputs. The infiltrators tried to evade thermal sensors by camouflaging themselves by using grass and bushes but the troops detected them and foiled the bid," he added. The group was cordoned off troops almost 200 to 300 metres from the LoC fencing on the Indian side and a gunbattle ensued.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is slated to meet his Pakistani counterpart, in a statement said, "No words are strong enough to condemn the heinous terrorist attack on Hiranagar Police Station and the Army camp at Samba in Jammu and Kashmir this morning. I convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of the brave army and police officers, as well as the innocent civilians martyred in this cowardly attack. This is one more in a series of provocations and barbaric actions by the enemies of peace. We are firmly resolved to combat and defeat the terrorist menace that continues to receive encouragement and reinforcement from across the border. Such actions will not deter us and will not succeed in derailing our efforts to find a resolution to all problems through a process of dialogue."
Rejecting the notion that Manmohan Singh should not meet his Pakistani counterpart, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said stalling talks could be a victory for terrorists. "It may be a political compulsion for some political parties to call off the dialogue but if the dialogue is called off, the peace process will be derailed, it would be a victory for the terrorists and that would be wrong," Omar said.
Omar said that the timing of the attack and location indicate that the attackers wanted to stall peace process. "The timing and location of the attack makes it clear that their intention was to derail the peace process," he said.
Omar also said the India Pakistan PM level talks must go on. "There will be pressure on the PM to call off dialogue. We in the state are committed to a peaceful resolution to the problems existing in the state. We feel that talks should not be suspended with Pakistan. The only way for peace is via talks," Omar said.
These attacks come just four days after an attack on CISF personnel in the heart of Srinagar. They also come at a time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is all set to meet his Pakistani counterpart in the US for talks.
The Opposition is demanding that the talks be put on hold following continuous ceasefire violations and terror attacks. "We condemn the twin attack in Jammu. This shows how Pakistan continues its strategy. The talks between Indian PM and Pakistan PM in US are uncalled for." BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said.