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Poonch terrorist attack: Subdued Eid in Sangiote border hamlet

Poonch terrorist attack: Subdued Eid in Sangiote border hamlet
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Poonch, Apr 22 (PTI) Villagers of the border hamlet of Sangiote in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district did not celebrate Eid with much enthusiasm on Saturday as they grieved the killing of five Indian soldiers when an Army truck carrying material for a scheduled Iftar was ambushed by terrorists.

Sangiote has a population of more than 3,500 and over 60 per cent of the men are ex-servicemen.

“We have not celebrated Eid with any pomp and show. We just offered prayers. The people are saddened by the death of jawans, who were bringing material for our Iftar on Thursday evening,” Sangiote Sarpanch Mukhtiar Khan told PTI over phone from his home.

Khan condemned the terrorist attack and said the entire village decided to have a muted Eid by offering only prayers. He said special prayers were offered for the fallen soldiers.

Expressing solidarity with the Indian Army and the families of the jawans, he said an Iftar was scheduled in the village on Thursday evening and the jawans were ferrying vegetables, fruits and other material in the truck from Bhimber Gali camp, when they came under attack at Bhata Dhurian.

The soldiers were from a Rashtriya Rifles unit deployed for counter-terror operations.

The whole village stands with the Army, Khan said.

“After Eid prayers, we are staying back at our homes and there will be no celebrations like visiting relatives, distributing sweets, wearing new clothes or taking children outside as is the practice on the first day of the festival,” he said.

Amir Khan, another villager, said after the terrorist attack they had convened a condolence meeting. “The participants were unanimous in condemning the terrorist attack and decided to restrict Eid celebrations to namaz’ only,” he said.

Saddam Hussain said a company of the Rashtriya Rifles is deployed in the village and enjoys cordial ties with the villagers. “The soldiers usually distribute fresh fruits, including watermelons, to the residents for Iftar’ and nobody had imagined such an attack on them just two days ahead of Eid,” he said.

The Bhata Dhurian forest area has for long remained a preferred infiltration route for terrorists from across the Line of Control because of its topography, dense forest cover and natural caves.

In October 2021, nine soldiers were killed in two major gunfights with terrorists within four days in the forest area during a search operation, which continued for over three weeks with no trace of terrorists.





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