Jammu: Years from now nine-year-old Sheetal would probably remember the events at her home on Wednesday as her greatest adventure.
Sheetal was held captive at her own home for almost 20 hours. Terrorists threatened to kill her and her family, didn’t allow them to eat and kept shooting at soldiers outside. She was scared but she is ready to play now.
Sheetal is the oldest of the four children who were among the seven people held captive by terrorists in a house in Chinore near Jammu. Security forces killed the three terrorists after a 20-hour operation and rescued the hostages on Wednesday night.
Sheetal and her siblings on Thursday described their ordeal. “I was in the kitchen and I thought the Army has come in but it wasn't the Army. Terrorists entered my room and said they would kill us,” she said.
"It was scary. We were locked inside a room and the men kept threatening us. I don't want to remember anything—it was so scary."
Asked what she wanted to do now: “I want to play and watch TV. I am feeling fine.”
Six-year-old Rishant, Sheetal’s sibling, said the he didn't get food during the entire time he was hold hostage and was scared. “I was most scared when the firing started,” he said.
Sarita, the children’s mother, suffered a bullet injury and is being treated at a military hospital. “We were inside the house, when I heard a knock at the door. We thought they were Army personnel but it was only later we realised that they were terrorists,” she told reporters from the hospital bed.
“The terrorists asked for food, so I gave them milk. After that they made us sit in front of them. We were covered with blankets and were made to sit at gunpoint. The shooting started soon after,” she said.
Sarita's husband Billu Ram had returned home on Wednesday morning to find that terrorists were holding his family hostage.
He had waited anxiously outside the building as his family members were rescued following the gun battle that went on from early Wednesday morning till late in the night. A neighbour, his son, and a teacher present in the building were killed by the terrorists.
Grenade explosions and gunshots were heard in the area as the single-storey building was perforated with bullet marks. By late Wednesday, the army personnel managed to kill all three militants.
"We are happy that we could save some of the hostages but also unhappy that three of them were killed," Brigadier V P Singh, who led the operation against the terrorists, told reporters.
The police said three terrorists had crossed into Jammu and Kashmir from the Kanachak sector of the border with Pakistan Tuesday morning.
(With reporting by CNN-IBN Correspondent Pawan Bali)