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Handwara meeting today: Colonel, commander among 5 staff members martyred in Kashmir meeting with terrorists | India News

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SRINAGAR: In a setback, two senior army officers, including a colonel-ranking officer, were among the five security personnel killed during an encounter with terrorists in a forest village in Rajwar in northern Kashmir, they said Sunday officials.

The deceased security personnel are: Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh, and Lance Naik Dinesh, all from the GUARD Brigade regiment, and currently part of the 21 Rashtriya rifles, deployed to combat terrorism in inside.

A deputy inspector of the Jammu and Kashmir police, Shakeel Qazi, was also the victim of bullets by the terrorists.

The two hidden terrorists, who were killed in the encounter, included the commander of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba Haider, a Pakistani citizen who has been active in the North Kashmir area. The identity of the other had not yet been determined.

Some civilians had been held hostage, officials said.

J&K Police Chief Dilbagh Singh said: “It is sad to report that five brave staff members, including Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Maj. Anuj Sood and JKP Deputy Inspector Shakeel Qazi, were martyred in the line of duty.” .

Security forces had noted the presence of some terrorists in the Rajwar forests in the Handwara area in recent days, and a brief exchange of fire occurred Thursday in the depths of the jungles.

Around Saturday afternoon, intelligence data indicated the presence of the same group of terrorists inside a house in the village of Changimulla, prompting Col Sharma to launch a cordon and a search operation together with his team and Qazi .

After a considerable pause, Colonel Sharma and four other staff members broke into a stable adjacent to the house, assuming that the terrorists had been eliminated in the intense shooting.

According to officials, the team was fired upon after rescuing civilians and all communication links with Col Sharma and his team were broken. The terrorists responded to calls made to the team’s mobile numbers.

Then, the Army rushed in paratroopers, who after verifying that the Army officer and his team were killed in the encounter, launched an offensive in the first light of day and killed the two terrorists.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying tribute to soldiers.

“Tributes to our brave soldiers and security personnel martyred in Handwara. Their courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten. They served the nation with the utmost dedication and worked tirelessly to protect our citizens. Condolences to their family and friends,” said the first. minister in a tweet

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh described it as “deeply disturbing and painful.”

Defense chief of staff General Bipin Rawat said the anti-terror operation highlighted the determination of the security forces to safeguard the lives of the people of Kashmir.

The Army, in a tweet, said that the Chief of the Army General Staff, General MM Naravane, and all members of the force paid tribute to the “brave brave men of our Army and the JK Police for their supreme sacrifice while fighting and eliminating to the terrorists in Handwara. ”

The deaths of Col Sharma and Major Sood, both from 21-RR, was a sad reminder of an almost similar incident two decades ago when Commander of the same battalion Colonel Rajinder Chauhan was killed by terrorists along with Brig B S Shergil in 2000.

The death of a rank colonel officer was seen in the valley after five years. In 2015, the army had lost two colonels in one year in Kashmir.

Colonel M N Rai of 2/9 Gorkha Rifles, was the CO of 42 RR and gave his life for the country while fighting militants in Tral in southern Kashmir in January 2015.

The same year, Col Santosh Mahadik was killed in a meeting in the Kupwara area.

In the latest operation, the Army said that, based on intelligence that terrorists were taking some civilians hostage in a house, JK’s army and police launched a joint operation.

A team consisting of five members of the army and police entered the target area occupied by terrorists to evacuate civilians and successfully removed them.

However, during the process, the team was subjected to a large volume of fire by the terrorists and in the subsequent shooting, all five staff members were killed, the Army said.

Terrorists are believed to have arrived in Handwara to receive an infiltrated group from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, authorities said.

A crown-laying ceremony would be held tomorrow, after which Colonel Sharma’s body would be transferred to Jaipur and Major Sood’s to Pune, officials said.

Times of India

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