Operation ‘Thunder Strike’, launched by security forces in the beginning of May
in the North Kashmir area, has led to recovery of one of the biggest arms and
ammunition hauls in the recent past including 22 AK rifles and 100 hand
General officer Commanding (GoC) Kilo Force Major General N. George described it
as one of the biggest haul of arms in a single operation in recent times. “This
is one of the biggest arms and ammunition hauls in the state. It was recovered
during search operations in Wadar Bala forest area in Handwara of Kupwara
district,” Major General George said.
The recoveries included 22 AK rifles, thousands of live rounds, one Rocket
Propelled Grenade, one 60 millimetre Mortar, 10 Pistols, three 303 rifles, seven
Radio Sets and one Night Vision Goggle besides over 100 grenades, anti-tank
mines and other war like stores.
The Operation Thunder Strike was launched by the security forces following
intelligence inputs that a large number of militants were in the process of
infiltrating into North Kashmir from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Multiple
ambushes were laid by the army spread over a large area, spanning the forest
areas of entire Baramulla and Kupwara districts along the line of control.
“Based on intelligence inputs in early May about infiltration of about 14-22
militants, army carried out deployment of troops in hilly terrain of areas
falling on the borderline of Baramulla and Kupwara districts,” Major General
In fact, the recovery of the arms and ammunition happened by chance as the
troops chasing a splinter group of the infiltrating militants in the Haphruda
forests came across a cave-like hideout. Army officials said the weapons and
ammunition seized probably did not belong to the infiltrators and were dumped
there during the winter months.
“It is not possible that the infiltrating militants had carried such huge
quantities of arms and ammunition with them,” observed the officials. Security
forces in Kashmir have busted several militant hideouts during the month of May
and recovered arms, ammunitions as well as explosives.
During a search operation in Nagarnar forests of Handwara, six mines, 10 fuse
mines, two pika belts, four mine chargers, 14 pistol rounds, five AK 47
magazines, three pistol magazines, eight grenades and four stick grenades were
recovered. Another hideout was busted in Pampore area of Pulwama district where
nearly half a dozen grenades and other explosive material were recovered.
Earlier last month, security forces achieved a major breakthrough by busting a
militant hideout and recovered large quantity of arms and ammunition in Kreeri
area of Baramulla district. They said during the searches, the security forces
chanced upon a hideout where militants had stored large quantities of arms and
ammunition in gunny bags and big flower vases.
s The recoveries included 27 UBGL grenades, seven hand grenades, four high
explosive bombs, one AK 47 rifle, five AK magazines, 111 AK rounds, two pistols,
three pistol magazines and 10 rounds. Two country-made 12 bore guns, three
explosive sticks, one Kenwood wireless set, one UBGL launcher, 21 IED
connectors, 16 IED circuits, 13 IED transformers, two IED batteries and a
Spring in the Valley leads to hot pursuits
The Army and other security agencies in Kashmir were expecting a ‘Hot Summer’
this year in the Valley, in view of the large scale infiltration attempts by
militants to cross over to this side from the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The
temperature seems to be on the rise already with 53 persons including 36
militants being killed in the past three months alone.
Expecting a sharp increase in militant attacks this summer, the security grid in
Kashmir launched a series of major pro-active counter-insurgency operations in
the Valley and so far have successfully eliminated 36 militants. Eleven of these
militants were killed in a two-week operation christened Operation Thunder
Strike, in the forests of North Kashmir.
However, the security forces also paid a price as six army personnel including a
Major were killed during these operations. Two policemen have also been killed
in the last three months in militancy-related violence. The militants have shot
dead eight civilians on the suspicion of having links with security forces.