At least three security personnel and a civilian were killed in a fierce encounter that lasted around five hours after militants attacked a police station in Jammu’s Kathua district on Friday.
Two attackers were also shot dead in a gunfight that erupted after militants wearing army fatigues, believed to be fidayeen or suicide bombers, attacked Rajbagh police station, some 15km from the international border.
“Two militants have been gunned down by our security forces. We admire and commend the work done by our security forces,” Union home minister Rajnath Singh told Lok Sabha in a statement.
“A civilian who was shot down by militant has our sympathies,” said Singh.
I want to congratulate the security forces who bravely managed to gun down the militants in Kathua: HM Rajnath Singh
12:43 PM – 20 Mar 2015
Kathua deputy commissioner Shahid Iqbal said about four militants launched the attack, which is the first major assault in the militancy-hit state following the formation of a Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government.
“Six policemen were inside the station… A CRPF unit is stationed on the first floor of the police station. A CRPF man posted as sentry of the station was shot dead by the terrorists,” said Iqbal.
A senior police officer said, “Militants used automatic weapons and hurled grenades at the Rajbagh police station.”
Reports said after killing the sentry at the police station’s guard post, the guerrillas entered the police station, 65km from Jammu on the strategic Jammu-Pathankot national highway in Kathua district.
Traffic on the highway was stopped after militants launched the assault around 6:15am.
The Indian Army along with state police and para military forces launched an operation to flush out the militants.
Former J-K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “These Fidayeen will have walked across the border last night & launched their attack this morning which is the past pattern as well.”
Proceedings in the state assembly were disrupted over the attack with Opposition National Conference condemning the incident.
MLAs from the NC and the Congress accused the BJP of keeping silent. Congress legislators said that when the BJP was in opposition it talked about taking strong steps against Pakistan, but now it has chosen to say nothing.
Twelve people were killed on September 26, 2013, when guerrillas had attacked Hiranagar police station in Kathua district and later entered an army camp on the Jammu-Pathankot national highway.