The bodies of junior commissioned officer (JCO) Ajit Singh Rautela and soldier Harendra Singh were recovered on Saturday, 16 October, from the densely forested area in Mendhar, where encounter with militants has been going on for six days.
This comes after a massive search operation was launched on 12 October, following the killing of five army personnel in an encounter in Dera Ki Gali in Poonch district. The operation is in its sixth day.
The toll of the encounter has risen, with nine army personnel dying so far.
PRO Defence Jammu Lt Col Devender Anand said, “During the ongoing search operation, security forces recovered the bodies of Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh of Indian Army who were killed in action.
Meanwhile, two non-locals, including a pani puri vendor from Bihar and a carpenter from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh were also killed by militants on Saturday evening.
Both the attacks came hours after IGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said that the “militants responsible for these (civilian) killings” had been identified and that while two had been killed, they were close to “neutralising” three others.
Kumar also announced on Saturday that two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists Umar Mustaq Khandey and Shahid Basir were killed. He added that both were involved in several civilian killings.
Kumar was quoted as saying, “After civilian attacks, we started offensive ops. 9 encounters took place and 13 terrorists killed. Our ops will continue,” news agency ANI reported.
The Poonch-Jammu highway has been closed since Thursday evening as a safety measure.
(With inputs from ANI.)
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