J&K: NIA to Take Over Probe in Sunjwan Encounter

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will take over the investigation into the attack by militants at the Sunjwan army camp on the outskirts of Jammu early on Friday, following which one security force personnel was killed and nine suffered injuries during a gunfight.

Top government sources told that the NIA will be probing the Sunjwan case, the notification for which will soon be issued. The scope of the investigation needed a serious and specialised agency, the sources added.

Earlier in the day, an NIA team reached Sunjwan area after a CISF vehicle carrying 15 personnel was attacked by terrorists two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu. In an ensuing gunfight, one security personnel was killed while nine were injured.

Soon after the attack, security forces gunned down two militants while two guns and a satellite phone were recovered.Jammu additional director general of police Mukesh Singh said the encounter in Sunjwan started when the special operations group of the police and the CRPF launched a joint search operation in the area.

According to officials, the operation was launched on specific information about the presence of at least two heavily-armed terrorists, likely belonging to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit, in a vicinity adjacent to the sprawling Sunjwan military station to carry out a major strike. They added the terrorists hurled a grenade and opened fire on the search parties who retaliated, triggering a gunfight.

Security forces, meanwhile, have been put on high alert ahead of PM Modi’s visit.

In another long encounter that lasted that began early on Thursday and lasted 40 hours into Friday evening, a top commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and his two aides were killed in Baramulla district. Police said four militants had been killed, but only three bodies had been recovered. Among them was Yousuf Kantroo, a militant who had been active in the Valley over the past two decades. But, one of his aides, a 17-year-old boy, had been a recruit for only a month.Modi is visiting on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24. He is scheduled to visit Pali village, 17 km from Sunjwan, to address a gathering. This will be the PM’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir other than the borders since the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state and its bifurcation in August 2019. He had observed Diwali with army jawans on October 27, 2019, in Rajouri and on November 3, 2021, in Nowshera sector in Jammu division.

The first three months of the year have already witnessed a 100 per cent increase in the number of jawans killed in encounters and 58 per cent more injuries in the Valley as compared to the same period last year, according to the data compiled by security forces.

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