Uri Avenged: Exclusive Details of 20 Sep Cross-LoC Surgical Strike

Ghatak troops from Bihar, Dogra unit aided Para commandos in conducting surgical strikes, writes Chandan Nandy.

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Uri Avenged: Exclusive Details of 20 Sep Cross-LoC Surgical Strike

Ghatak soldiers from the Dogra and Bihar regiments, which were engaged for anti-terrorist operations after the 18 September attack on the Uri brigade headquarters, provided very heavy firing cover to Indian special forces commandos who crossed the Line of Control to attack the terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

Reliable army sources revealed to The Quint the anti-terror operation beyond the LoC began on 20 September when two platoons of 3rd and 9th Paras, respectively, stealthily entered PoK territory by foot. Some of the commandos moved in following a “high altitude, low opening” technique involving jumping down from a low-flying aircraft out of Pakistani radar range.

The operation that began on 20 September went through ebb and flow before culminating on 28 September.

According to army sources, 15 to 20 Pakistani terrorists were captured in the operation, and they are currently being investigated in undisclosed locations in Indian Kashmir.

Also Read: Army Confirms PoK Surgical Ops: 1st Strike Reported by The Quint

DGMO Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh addresses a press conference in New Delhi, on 29 September 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Operation Was Conducted Close to Haji Pir Pass

While one group of the raiding commandos moved deep (3 kms) into PoK territory, close to the Haji Pir Pass another posse of the special forces went up 2 kms where there were three “terrorist launch pads”, where they found about 12 terrorists in each of the sites. Using heavy gunfire from automatic weapons, the commandos killed the terrorists, most of whom were found sleeping, after using snipers to take out the guards. The Quint had earlier reported that the surgical strikes were carried out in PoK by the 9th Paras on 20 September.

Meanwhile, Ghataks from the Dogra and Bihar regiments opened up a heavy fusillade of fire on Pakistan army posts near the launch pads closer to the LoC (between 600 metres and 1.2 kms). This is where between six and 12 Pakistani soldiers are said to have been killed, although the Pakistanis have admitted that only two soldiers were killed.

The sources refused to disclose the names of the locations which were hit but some of them are believed to be in the vicinity of the “very crucial” Haji Pir Pass which is to the south of Uri. Haji Pir was left to be with the Pakistanis at the end of the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

Also Read: After Punishing Perpetrators, Can Modi Get Back to Vikas Agenda?


No Clarity on Exact Death Toll Across the LoC

When The Quint spoke to the Srinagar-based army spokesman Colonel Manish Kumar on 27 September, he denied that 10 terrorists were killed by the 10th Dogra and the 6th Bihar regiments in Uri and Nowgam near the LoC. Sources revealed to The Quint that soldiers from these two regiments provided the cover for the special forces to penetrate PoK territory before themselves taking part in the spoils of the skirmishes.

Sources, however, revealed one Indian soldier Hawaldar Madanlal Sharma was killed in firing from the Pakistani side. While refusing to acknowledge the elimination of ten terrorists in the Uri sector, Colonel Kumar said, “We do not confirm the deaths but we do confirm that the operation is continuing.”

Army sources said that the death toll across the LoC – Director General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh today claimed that 38 terrorists and Pakistani army troopers were killed – is not clear as the Ghataks used volleys from grenade launchers, RPO flame throwers and Carl Gustav rockets.

One Indian commando is said to have got close enough to use his bayonet to stab two terrorists to death.

Also Read: Live: Pak Summons Indian High Commissioner Over Surgical Strikes

Border Security Force soldiers patrol the India-Pakistan border area at Ranbir Singh Pura, about 35 kilometers from Jammu, 24 September 2016. (Photo: AP)

Drones Captured the Action by the Special Forces

While the Dogras and the Bihar regiments, beginning on the Indian side of the LoC before moving across the imaginary line, used heavy fire power, including supporting artillery bombardment, the commandos from the 3rd and 9th Paras were more “surgical” and “precise” in conducting their operations, although there are unconfirmed reports of a few deaths among the Indians.

Army sources familiar with the surgical operation said that the 20 September commando strike on at least “two or three” main terrorist camps, which are around 6-12 kms inside PoK, was “near total” although some of the terrorists did manage to take shelter or escaped the Indian fire.

They were picked up by drone-mounted cameras and the images were used to hunt them down before a number of them were killed. The drone footage, described by sources to be “beautiful”, is said to have captured long sequences of the special forces’ actions against the terrorists.

Sources said that just before the operation ended on 28 September, two truckloads of Pakistani Special Services Group, paramilitary BAT troops and Rangers were sent in as reinforcements to take on the Ghataks, but they are said to have backed off in face of heavy fire. It is believed that the Ghataks provided covering fire to facilitate the return of the Para commandos.

Also Read: Denial and Ridicule: How Pak Media Reacted to the Surgical Strikes

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