Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah along with minister paying tributes in Jammu on Thursday to the policemen who were killed in militants’ attacks in Kathua and Samba. (PTI)
The terror attack on an Army unit in Samba is being considered a grave provocation as militants breached the International Border (IB) for an assault of this magnitude after almost a decade.
The losses, sources said, could have been much worse as families of the unit’s officers had a close shave with death.
The well-planned attack the terrorists had both the training and intelligence inputs that indicate the backing of a professional force would have turned fatal for the families of several officers staying in the officers’ mess that was targeted, including the wife of Lt Col Bikramjit Singh who succumbed to bullet injuries.
Sources said the terrorists appeared to have specifically targeted the 16 Cavalry (armoured) unit which would have been more vulnerable than other infantry units in the area. After attacking the Kathua police station, the terrorists headed for a closed gate of the Samba Army unit that opened into the mess.
With no Army camp in the region attacked for a decade, the gate was lightly guarded and had only one sentry. After shooting him dead, the terrorists scaled the wall and entered the kitchen area of the mess and shot dead an unarmed orderly.
Lt Col Singh, who stayed with his wife and eight-year-old daughter in accommodation adjoining the mess, was shot in the stomach when he came out after the trouble began around 7.30 am. The unarmed officer was shot dead metres away from where his wife was in their two-room accommodation. Their daughter had just left for school and escaped witnessing the tragedy.