In an audacious attack, armed militants ambushed a Cordon and Search Operation Party killing 3 soldiers and wounding five others in South Kashmir’s Shopian district. An elderly woman according to police was also killed in the cross firing.The attack took place in Mulu Chitragam area of Shopian district, when militants ambushed a patrolling party of 44-RR at around 2:00am, when they were returning from cordon and search operation in a nearby Kungnoo village. “The party was returning without any arrest or recovery from Kungnoo, when militants opened fire at the government forces in Chitragam village,” police said.Even though extra contingents of Forces were rushed to spot, but militants managed to flee from the spot, after inflicting heavy loses on the government forces. In the exchange of fire, according to reports, a bullet hit a local resident, Taja Begum, who was inside her house and she died. The army personnel killed in the attack have been identified as Sreejit MJ, Vikas Kumar and Ghulam Muhammad Rather, while the injured include Lt Col Mukesh Jha, Major Amardeep Singh, Surendra Kumar, Sumer Singh and Ajay Pal. “While returning from Kungnoo, the CASO party was attacked by unknown militants at Mulu Chitragam at about 2 am resulting in injuries to six army personnel including two officers of whom three succumbed to their injuries,” read the official statement of police.
Former Chief Minister and opposition National Conference leader in response to the incident tweeted, “Tragic news and deeply worrying situation in the valley. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.”The locals of Mullu Chitragam shortly after the militant attack accused army of ransacking their properties and arresting four civilians after militants attacked them in the area. Locals alleged that soon after the attack, army soldiers and SOG men barged into their houses and ransacked properties.The men in uniform smashed dozens of parked vehicles and windows of houses in the area including Mullu Chitragam, Trenz etc,” locals said.They alleged that army arrested Bashir Ahmad Wani and Majid Ahmad Ganai of Mullu and Mohammad Ayoub Mir and Shaheen Ahmad of Chittragam.A police handout read that after receiving an information about the presence of militants, a Cordon And Search Operation (CASO) was carried out at Kungnoo Shopian, by 44 RR and Police. The CASO concluded without any arrest or recovery.While returning from Kungnoo, the CASO party was attacked by unknown militants at Mulu Chitragam at about 2 am resulting in injuries to six army personnel including two officers of whom three succumbed to their injuries.One lady Mst Tajiya Wife of Ghulam Muhammed Mir of Mulu who was hit by a stray bullet inside her house during the cross fire also succumbed to her injuries.Meanwhile, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has condemned the killing of three Army personnel in this attack.The Chief Minister said violence has never been and could never be a means to address issues. She said the unending cycle of violence in the State has brought untold miseries to the people and collective efforts are needed to get the State out of the morass of death and destruction.Mehbooba Mufti also expressed deep grief and anguish over the death of a civilian in the incident.She conveyed her sympathies with the bereaved families of the soldiers and the civilian. (CNS)