Army Col, Maj among 5 securitymen, 2 militants killed in Handwara

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 5/4/2020 12:17:23 AM

SRINAGAR, May 3: An Army Colonel and a Major were among five security personnel killed in an encounter with militants at a village in north Kashmir’s Handwara area, officials said.
Two militants were also killed in the incident.
“Sad to inform that five brave personnel including Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood and sub-inspector of JKP Shakeel Qazi were martyred in the line of duty,” director general of police Dilbagh Singh told media.
He said the Colonel and his team bravely rescued civilians held hostage by the militants. The two militants were killed in the encounter.
Giving details, the Army said based on the intelligence input that militants were taking hostage some civilians in a house in Changimulla at Handwara of Kupwara district, a joint operation was launched by the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
A team comprising five Army and police personnel entered the target area occupied by the militants to evacuate the civilians and successfully extricated them, it said.
However, during the process, the team came under a heavy volume of fire by the militants and in the ensuing firefight, two militants were killed and the five Army personnel and a policeman were killed in the line of duty, the Army said.
The militants are believed to have come to Handwara to receive an infiltrating group from PoK, officials said.
Besides Colonel Ashutosh Sharma and Major Anuj Sood, the other Army personnel killed in the encounter were identified as Naik Rajesh and Lance Naik Dinesh.
Col Sharma was the Commanding Officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles and had been decorated for gallantry twice in Kashmir and continued their till date because of his outstanding performance till yesterday when he attained martyrdom," army said.
Police spokesman in a statement said yesterday, when inputs were received about the presence of militants in village Chanjmulla, Handwara, sub-inspector Shakeel Pathan alias Qazi led the SOG team under the command of District SP Handwara along with CO 21 RR and launched the operation. He was part of the original team which went in to evacuate the civilian inmates in the target house, who were taken hostage by the hiding militants.
"The team could safely rescue the inmates but came under heavy fire from the militants, during the evacuation process and attained martyrdom. The other parties of police and security forces continued the operation through the night under the supervision of Brig Rathore, DIG Police NKR Suleman Choudhary and District SP Sundeep Chakravarti."
He said on conclusion of the operation the target house was searched early this morning and bodies of two militants eliminated in the encounter were recovered along with arms and ammunition. One of the slain militants was identified as Haider, a Pak National working in Lashkar-e-Toiba in Kashmir for the past couple of years and the identity of the other militant is being ascertained.
Police spokesman said Qazi in recognition of his immense contribution was granted three out of turn promotions and he rose from the rank of a constable to sub-Inspector over the years.
He was honoured with various medals which include – Sher-i-Kashmir Police Medal for Gallantry in 2009, police Medal for gallantry by president of India in 2011, the spokesman said.

 

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