Jammu, Nov 27:
Ten people, including four civilians, were killed in fierce gun battles in Jammu and Kashmir Thursday when security forces took on infiltrating guerrillas, just a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state, officials said.
The gun battle began near the international border in the morning after a group of heavily armed guerrillas infiltrated into the Indian side in Arnia sub-sector.
“The group – comprising seven to eight militants – fired at a civilian vehicle after they infiltrated into the Indian side in Arnia in Jammu district. The driver and two occupants of the vehicle were killed, after which the militants entered an abandoned army bunker in Pind Khote village in R.S. Pura,” a police officer said here.
“The army and the Border Security Force engaged the militants in a gunfight in which four militants were killed. One junior commissioned officer of the army was also killed and four soldiers were injured,” the officer said.
After firing stopped for some time in Pind Khote village, the surviving guerrillas again shot at the security forces, which resulted in the death of a civilian and another soldier, police said.
The four injured soldiers were shifted to a hospital for treatment.
“The infiltration attempt was supported by Pakistan Rangers, who fired mortar shells at BSF positions in Arnia so that the militants could sneak in,” the officer said.
Condoling the deaths of the soldiers and the civilians, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the attack coming at a time when Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif were meeting in Nepal “can’t be a coincidence”.
“The timing of the attack in Arnia can’t be a coincidence. My condolences to the family of the army officer killed in Arnia,” Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
Abdullah said all check-posts along the national highway in Jammu and other sensitive locations have been put on high alert.
Modi is scheduled to arrive in Jammu Friday to address election rallies ahead of the second phase of assembly polls Dec 2.
Bharatiya Janata Party sources said Modi will address rallies in Udhampur and Poonch districts of Jammu region.
An unprecedented 70 percent voter turnout was witnessed in the first phase of elections.