Armed suspects spotted in J&K’s Kathua, search operation launched | India News

JAMMU: A joint team of the Army, J&K Police and paramilitary personnel launched a massive search operation in a village in Kathua district late Monday after villagers spotted a group of five to six heavily armed men and alerted security forces.
Sources said the group reached a house in Juthana village and one of them asked for food from a woman. “Seeing the armed men, the woman raised an alarm.As locals began gathering, the suspects fled from the spot via a local rivulet,” said an official, adding that locals subsequently informed cops as well as the Army.
“Since the village is close to the international border, security forces don’t want to take a chance. Choppers and drones are being used for surveillance while additional forces have been moved to intensify the efforts to track down and neutralise the terrorists,” officials said. The search party is also combing the area around Bhini Nallah in Billawar.
Villager Harbans Singh claimed his cousin was approached by the suspect around 9pm. When she declined to offer him food, he allegedly moved away from the backyard of her house. Sensing something fishy, she informed Harbans who went to look for the suspect and even threw a stone in the direction the latter had left, calling out: “Who’s there?” Harbans froze in his tracks when he heard a voice saying: “Goli maaro isko (shoot him).”
Pictures of alleged footprints of the suspects are making rounds on social media. Harbans, whose video has also been circulated widely, claimed that two of the suspects possessed automatic weapons while the others were sitting.
Pertinently, a massive cordon-and-search operation following the killing of a village defence guard in Udhampur’s Basantgarh during an encounter with terrorists on April 28 was extended to Kathua on May 1, as infiltrators are known to move via Bani-Basantgarh route to travel from Kathua to Doda and Kashmir. On May 11, J&K Police had released sketches of six foreign terrorists involved in the attack and arrested an overground worker who had provided the infiltrators with logistic support.

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