Jammu: Fire erupted in parts of the Bhatta Durrian forest in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch on Saturday as the operation in the district continued for the 19th day.
Police sources said that heavy firing, including the use of rocket launchers by the army against the militants hiding inside the Bhatta Durrian forests, triggered the fire.
Reports said smoke was billowing at some places of the forest which are believed to be the areas where the terrorists are hiding.
There has, however, been no exchange of fire between the security forces and the terrorists during the last three days.
Defence sources said it is possible that the hiding militants are either dead or injured, but things would only become clear once the operation is completed.
They added that militants, most of them Pakistanis, appears to have infiltrated into the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) possibly one or two months back.
“Since then, the group of terrorists, whose number is likely to be around five to seven, have been hiding inside the Bhatta Durrian forests.”
So far, half a dozen civilians belonging to villages around the forest have been detained for questioning.
The operation began on October 11 and is one of the longest operations in Jammu and Kashmir since armed violence started in the early 1990s.
Nine soldiers, including two junior commissioned officers (JCOs), have been killed and two policemen and a soldier injured in the ongoing operation.