The Indian Army, which has been conducting a search operation in the forest range between Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir, began preparations for a final attack on the militants hiding in the region on Tuesday, 19 October, The Indian Express reported.
A cordon and search operation has been underway in the Bhatta Durrian forest in Poonch's Mendhar since 11 October, when five military personnel were killed in an encounter with militants.
Local civilians in the area have been asked to stay indoors. Messages requesting villagers to immediately return to their homes were broadcasted through loudspeakers in the area, The Indian Express reported, citing sources.
The preparations for the assault began shortly after Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane visited Poonch on Tuesday in order to review the security situation.
"General MM Naravane #COAS visited forward areas of #WhiteKnight Corps & undertook a first-hand assessment of the situation along the Line of Control. #COAS was briefed by commanders on the ground about the present situation & ongoing counter-infiltration operations," a tweet by the Indian Army indicated.
What Is Happening in Poonch?
A junior commissioned officer (JCO) and four soldiers were killed in action during a gunfight with militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector on 11 October. A cordon and search operation had subsequently been launched in the area.
On Thursday, 14 October, four more soldiers, including another JCO, died in an encounter with terrorists in the Poonch-Rajouri forest belt, making it one of the deadliest weeks for the army.
"The presence of terrorists in the forest area connecting Poonch and Rajouri was observed two-and-a-half months ago and accordingly tactical operations were launched to track them down," Deputy Inspector General of Police, Rajouri-Poonch range, Vivek Gupta was quoted as saying by news agency PTI on Saturday.
The entire forest area extending from Mendhar to Thanamandi remains cordonned, while a search operation has been underway for over a week in order to neutralise the terrorists.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and PTI.)
. Read more on India by The Quint.Army Preps for Attack on Militants After 9-Day-Long Operation in J&K's PoonchHaitians Protest as Gang Demands $1 Mn Each for 17 Kidnapped Missionaries . Read more on India by The Quint.