Poonch gunfight: Traffic on highway allowed after 20 days

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Authorities on Sunday allowed traffic after 20 days on Bhimber- Jaranwali Gali on Poonch highway, the thoroughfare overlooking the forest area where one of the longest anti-militancy operations in the recent past is ongoing.

SDPO Mendhar Z A Jaffri told GNS that besides allowing traffic through the highway, the farmers have also been allowed to carry their routines. “In case the farmers find any suspicious movement, they can inform the police,” he said.

The thoroughfare, referred to as National Highway 144-A, was closed between Bhimber Gali and Jarran Wali Gali stretch and the entire traffic was diverted through single lane road via Mendhar.

Officials had said that this step was taken as the gunfight site was hardly a few hundred meters from the highway.

The operation at Bhatti Durian in Mendhar, along with Surankote forest in Poonch and Thanamandi in Rajouri continued entered 20th day. On 11 and 14 October, militants attacked army, killing nine troopers including two Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs). One militant, taken out from jail and taken to the place of gunfight site was also killed.

The army and police had asked locals not to venture out into jungle area. Last Tuesday, Army Chief General M M Naravane also visited forward areas along the Line of Control to review the ground situation and ongoing counter-infiltration operations in Poonch. (GNS)

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