The recent ambush of an Army truck in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch bears a "striking resemblance" to a terrorist attack on a police vehicle in neighbouring Rajouri district 22 years ago, security officials have said, expressing serious concerns.
Five soldiers were killed and one was injured after terrorists attacked the lone Army truck, which was carrying eatables for iftar to a village, in the dense forest area of Bhata Dhurian in Poonch district on Thursday.
The ambush in Bhata Dhurian, a preferred infiltration route for terrorists from across the Line of Control, is being seen as an indication of the revival of terrorism in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, where the militancy was almost wiped out over a decade ago.
The officials said security forces and intelligence agencies investigating the latest attack were startled to find out a "striking resemblance" between the ambush and the attack on a police vehicle in Gambhir Mughlan village of Rajouri on January 1, 2001, in which 14 personnel of the special operations group and two health workers were killed.
"The site of the Bhata Dhurian ambush is only 23 km from the 2001 Gambhir Mughlan ambush location. Both the vehicles were set ablaze by terrorists using explosives or chemicals after firing indiscriminately from a very close range on the on-board personnel. Thereafter, they decamped with service rifles of the victims,” a security official said.
He said the latest attack is a cause for concern among the security setup as the entire area was considered almost terrorism free but the attackers struck the vehicle in broad daylight on the Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch national highway and melted away in the dense forest.
The Poonch ambush was the latest in a series of attacks in different areas of Jammu province, including the killing of innocent civilians at Dhangri village of Rajouri and the twin bomb attacks in Jammu city.
Barring the Dhangri attack case in which seven minority community members were killed on January 1 and 2, police have cracked almost all the major cases with the arrest of the culprits who were working at the behest of their handlers from across the border.
The officials said police officers have conducted a number of meetings with people in remote areas asking them to stay alert and share any information about suspected movement of terrorists for overall peace in the region and to defeat Pakistan's agenda of disturbing the peaceful atmosphere.