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Army winds up Keran ops leaving gaps between its claims and what’s on ground

On September 26, as a pitched battle raged between three terrorists who had raided an armoured unit of the 9 Corps in Samba and angry officers who even used main battle tanks to dislodge them, a strong statement was made miles away in Srinagar.

Keran: Army recovers cache of arms

Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh, commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said that the Army had thwarted a major infiltration bid in Kupwara’s Keran sector three days earlier.

The numbers he presented were alarming — several dozen militants had tried to sneak in and the Army had shot dead 10-12, with their bodies visible in Indian territory.

Massive infiltration bid in Keran sector foiled: Army

Just this would have made it one of the biggest such bids in years. However, the Army went a step ahead to say that 30-40 terrorists had been trapped inside Indian territory and troops had taken positions to cordon them off.

Related: Army patrol was the likely target in Keran

More than two weeks later, the Army has called off the operations and no bodies have been recovered from the cordoned-off area.

With the operations called off, the following are the claims that have been made and the facts of the encounter and its repercussions:

Claim: More than two dozen militants were trapped in Keran and took over an abandoned village on the LoC.

Fact: While it was claimed 30-40 militants tried to cross over on September 23 night near Shalbhatti village, there has been no proof the village had been captured. Much of the abandoned village lies on the other side of the LoC and a few structures on the Indian side had been used by militants to take shelter against firing by Indian troops. The gun battle lasted for at least 5-7 days but the infiltrators retreated subsequently. After the initial sighting on September 23, there was never any concrete evidence that dozens of militants were holed up. Also, there was no recorded ceasefire violation in the area by the Pakistani army.

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