Army to explain alleged lapses in recent Kashmir encounters

The encounter in Keran lasted for 14 days
The encounter in Keran lasted for 14 days

New Delhi: The Indian Army may have called off a two-week operation to hunt down infiltrators at the Keran sector in Kashmir and the dead bodies of those it claims were never recovered, the government wants an explanation for alleged lapses.

“Some lapses were there. We had information about possible infiltration attempts in the entire belt (Indo-Pak border along Jammu sector),” said Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde though he stressed that the intelligence alerts did not offer information specific to Keran.

The encounter in Keran, the largest in years, consisted of a series of gunbattles in which soldiers fought about 30 heavily-armed Pakistanis who crossed over the Line of Control for 14 days. India has accused the Pakistani army of links to the group. Five Indian soldiers were injured.

Before that, the Army said at least 12 infiltrators were killed in the village of Shala Batu, but no dead bodies have been recovered. Top government officials said that the army was perhaps “misled into believing” that it had been able to kill over 12 terrorist in the first few days of the operation.

The government has also asked for more information on how three terrorists stormed first into a police station and then an Army camp on September 26, killing 10 people including a Lieutenant Colonel in Samba near Jammu. The terrorists were shot dead.

Sources tell NDTV that initial inquires reveal that the three terrorists entered the camp without being put through any checks because they were wearing army fatigues.

A Quick Reaction Team of the Army, consisting of commandos, was dispatched to the police station though the terrorists had already moved towards the army camp.

“There was absolutely no information about the fact that Fidayeen’s had left the police station. The Jammu and Kashmir police didn’t raise an alarm; nor did the Army, which has many soldiers deployed in the area, warned that the terrorists had moved to another target,” a senior official told NDTV.

Written by Sudhi Ranjan Sen for NDTV.