2 soldiers, 5 militants killed in Kupawara encounter
Two soldiers of the army's counter-insurgency unit and five militants were killed in an encounter in North Kashmir's frontier district of Kupwara 2 army personnel, including a Major-rank officer, were also injured in the gunfight, but are reported to be stable. Army officials said though the area has been cleared of terrorists, search operations are still underway to sanitize the area.
Kupwara is a town and a municipal committee in Kupwara District in the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. The population of Kupwara is mainly comprised of Muslims and Sikhs. The encounter took place in Marseri village in the Chowkibal area of Kupwara district. Kupwara is located 115 km from Srinagar and less than 20 km from the border with PoK.
The army received intelligence inputs on the possible presence of militants in the Kupwara area. On getting the information, a joint operation was launched by the 41 Rashtriya Rifles, 16 Grenadiers, 19 Maratha Regiment and the 4 Para, along with the Special Operations Group of the J&K Police and CRPF. The militants were believed to be hiding in an abandoned house in the area.
The army said that the identities of the militants are yet to be ascertained; however, they were attired in white and carried snow axes and rucksacks, indicating that they may have infiltrated recently.
Naik Shankar Chandrabhan Shinde (34) of Nasik, Maharashtra, and gunner Maruti Sahadev (26) of Bijapur, Karnataka lost their lives during the operation in Kupwara.
The Line of Control (LoC) along Kupwara district has witnessed major gun battles between security forces and militants in the last few years. Sources state 65 militants infiltrated through Kupwara in 2014, 97 infiltrated in 2013, 121 in 2012, 52 in 2011, 82 in 2010, 99 in 2009 and 27 in 2008. Kupwara has the largest presence of the army's counter-insurgency unit.