Poonch attack: Army Chief Manoj Pande visits district after martyrdom of 4 soldiers

| Updated: 25 December, 2023 7:47 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Amid escalating tension in the Poonch district resulting in the deaths of four soldiers, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Manoj Pande, visited the Jammu and Kashmir district, on Monday.

His arrival was aimed to assess the prevailing security scenario and bolster ongoing anti-terrori operations initiated after the fatal ambush. Further, the General interacted with the commanders on ground, encouraging them to conduct operations professionally and resolutely.

The Indian Army, via an official communication on X (formerly Twitter), said, “Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande visited the Poonch sector and was given an update on the prevalent security situation. General Manoj Pande interacted with commanders on ground, exhorted them to conduct the operations in the most professional manner and remain resolute & steadfast against all challenges.”

The incident on Thursday, where militants ambushed military trucks at Dhatyar Morh in Poonch’s Surankote, resulted in the tragic loss of four military personnel. Following the ambush, the Indian Army picked up nine civilians for questioning, of which three were found dead on December 22.

Search operations across Surankote and the Thanamandi forest in Rajouri district are still underway. Presently, both the districts have had their internet services suspended for the past three days.

The situation took a political turn as the President of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti, alleged that she had been placed under house arrest before her scheduled visit to Surankote. The visit was intended to assess the situation and extend condolences to the families of dead civilians who had allegedly died in custody.

Expressing outrage, the PDP took to X, condemning Mufti’s house arrest and denouncing the obstructions posed to her intended visit. They demanded strong opposition against the perceived unjust restrictions impeding her movement.

“Mehbooba Mufti, PDP Chief, forcefully placed under house arrest before her scheduled visit to Surankote, where she aimed to assess the situation and console families of victims killed under army custody,” the PDP posted on X.

Consequently, Mufti appealed to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, raising concerns over the detention of more people by security personnel without notifying their families post the attack.

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