Three soldiers were martyred and three civilians injured when militants ambushed a search-and-cordon team at Mulu Chitragam, Shopian, 60-km south of Srinagar, at about 2 am on February 23, 2017. The search-and cordon team comprised of both Army and Police officials. A civilian woman also was killed in the cross-fire.
The army personnel belonged to Rashtriya Rifles Battalion and were returning after an operation in Kungnoo Shopian when the militants opened fire. The attack resulted in injuries to six army personnel, including two officers. Three of them succumbed to their injuries and were martyred.
The police spokesman said that the woman killed by a stray bullet inside her house has been identified as Taja.
This attack comes just days after an Officer Major Satish Dahiya, and Rifleman Ravi Kumar, paratrooper Dharmender Kumar and gunner Astosh Kumar was martyred in separate encounters in the valley on the 14th of February, 2017.
According to official reports, twenty-six soldiers of the Indian Army have already been martyred in 2017. While 20 army personnel including an officer lost their lives in avalanches in the valley, six soldiers were martyred during counter-insurgency operations across the state that led to the killing of 22 militants as well.
Security Forces Step Up Proactive Operations
According to intelligence reports, nearly 100 youths have embraced militancy after the killing of Hibzul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016. The security forces have launched proactive operations in the valley to restrict the harm that the newly recruited militants may inflict. Around 50 operations have already been conducted in 2017 in Kashmir, resulting in killing of 22 militants and the arrest of three.
The security forces have also been able to bust the module of overground workers of militants, especially in north Kashmir, and 40 of them have been arrested this year which will help in crippling the militants. Overground workers act as the eyes and ears of the militants, identifying soft targets, carrying out reconnaissance before striking, and organising logistics like food and hideouts.
Last year saw a blood bath for the security forces in Kashmir with many officers and jawans having been martyred. Hopefully 2017 will be a better year for the security forces with no more causality to the Indian Armed forces.