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Rediff.com  » News » Why the fidayeen chose to attack the 16 Cavalry unit in Jammu

Why the fidayeen chose to attack the 16 Cavalry unit in Jammu

September 27, 2013 13:19 IST

A preliminary internal assessment has concluded that the three-member suicide squad had chosen the Samba-based armoured unit with deliberate care, since a Cavalry or armoured unit is normally not as adept at counter-insurgency operations as an infantry unit, reports RS Chauhan.

The Army's Northern and Western Commands have ordered a comprehensive review of the perimeter security and Standard Operating Procedures of various units and installations in Jammu and adjoining regions following Thursday's audacious attack on the 16 Cavalry unit at Samba that killed four Armymen apart from six others.

An internal preliminary assessment has concluded that the three-member suicide squad had chosen the Samba-based armoured unit with deliberate care. A Cavalry or armoured unit is normally not as adept at counter-insurgency operations as an infantry unit. Moreover, as NDTV's Nitin Gokhale pointed out on Thursday, the 16 Cavalry unit is part of  9 Corps, headquartered at Yol under the Chandigarh-based Western Command and is not part of the anti-infiltration grid in place under the Northern Command. 

The terrorists, well-versed in close quarter combat, shot the lone sentry at the 16 Cavalry gate and headed straight to the Officers Mess gunning down the second in command of the unit, Ll Col Bikramjit Singh, from point blank range. They had also shot and injured the Commanding Officer, Col Uthaiah, on their way to the officers mess

Although the 16 Cavalry troops rallied immediately after the initial shock and surprise, it was not until two neighbouring infantry units came in to corner the terrorists that the situation was brought under control and the three fidayeen were neutralised.

The security review by the two commands is likely to recommend a three-tiered entry and exit gate security system besides strengthening of the perimeter fence in all units in the area.

Meanwhile, recoveries from the dead terrorists indicate that they had come with specific objective in mind and were prepared to die rather than attempt an escape. Normally, terrorists who plan to operate for a longer duration carry dry fruits, SIM cards for mobile phones that can work in India and warm clothing.

Investigators have also concluded that the banned terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba was behind the audacious attack.

"It fits into a pattern that we have seen earlier. Also, weapons recovered from the killed militants -- three AK-47 rifles, one pistol, eight grenades and 12 magazines -- have the traditional trademark of the LeT," a senior official said.

The LeT is known to carry out spectacular attacks with meticulous training, planning and minimal weapons, NDTV's Sudhi Ranjan Sen has reported.

RS Chauhan in New Delhi