In a major boost to the security forces guarding the country's western frontier, troops have succeeded in capturing one Pakistani terrorists alive after an attack on a BSF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Udhampur on Wednesday, in which two jawans were killed.
The militant, who had taken three persons hostage in a school at a nearby village, was arrested after a joint operation by the army and the police.
The terrorist, aged around 20, has been identified as `Kasim Khan' from Faislabad, in Pakistan, reports quoting police sources said. He has been trained in Pakistan, according to media reports.
The three people held hostage have been freed and the militant has been taken away for further questioning on the route he took to cross the border, police said.
Some reports said the militant was overpowered by two of his hostages themselves.+
ANI quoted one of the villagers, Rakesh Kumar, as saying that the militant had asked them at gunpoint to take him to a safe place, but that they misled him.
"He was hungry, so we stopped. There we got together, forced him to the ground and disarmed him," added Vikramjit Singh, who too was among the hostages.
The other militant was shot dead in the attack which began around 7.30 am and lasted for five hours. The militants hurled grenades and opened fire on the convoy when it reached Samroli near Udhampur on its way from Jammu to Srinagar.
The brazen terror attack on the BSF convoy comes soon after a batch of Amarnath pilgrims had passed the spot, which raises concerns about the safety of thousands of devotees.
It is all the more worrisome that the Pakistan-based terror establishments manage to push in terrorists across the border despite the deployment of thousands of troops and police personnel by the central and state authorities.
Intelligence reports, meanwhile, said some terror outfits operating from Pakistani soil have sent its members to Jammu and Kashmir with clear orders to plan 'fidayeen' attacks targeting the annual Amarnath Yatra.
In view of the alarming inputs received from the intelligence agencies, the centre and the J&K government have deployed another 10,000 troops to protect the devotees along the two commonly used routes to the shrine.
Security forces have been asked to be on maximum alert in view of the threat perceptions.
The Indian Army has also recently launched 'Operation Shiva', with 7,500 soldiers assigned to keep a watch on suspected terrorists who have reportedly entered Kashmir from across the border.
The Army, meanwhile, started massive combing operations and vehicular movement on the highway has been stopped following the attack.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah said this is the first attack in that area in several years. "This attack signifies the failure of the government as it took place at a spot which had become militancy-free," he said.
The latest terror attack also comes amidst increased ceasefire violations by Pakistan across the LoC and the international border.
One woman was injured on Wednesday morning in a fresh round of firing by Pakistan Rangers in Sabjiyan sector along the LoC in Poonch. The firing targeted civilian areas in the sector.
On Tuesday, one person died and two others were injured in firing along the international border in Pargwal and RS pura in Jammu district.
India and Pakistan are scheduled to hold their first National Security Adviser-level talks on 23-24 August, where the focus would be on ending cross-border terror.