Indian Army Lost One Colonel, One major, Two Army Jawans In Handwara Operation

After an intense battle that went for nearly 8 hours, a joint operation by security personnel in Handwara town in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district has come to an end. According to the news agency PTI, one Colonel, one major, two Army jawans and a police sub-inspector were martyred in this encounter with militants.

Based on the intelligence input that civilians were being held hostage inside a home in Changimulla, Handwara of Kupwara district, a joint operation was launched by J&K Police and Indian Army Security personnel. A team comprising of five Army and J&K Police personnel entered the area occupied by the terrorists to evacuate the civilians. However, in the process of extricating civilians, the team came under heavy firing. The team of Army and J&K Police personnel gave befitting reply and successfully evacuated the civilians after eliminating two terrorists but also lost their lives. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told that top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander ‘Haider’ was among the two militants killed during the search operation on Sunday. The identity of the second militant is still to be ascertained.

 Among those martyred is the Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) unit, Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh, Lance Naik Dinesh and a sub-inspector of J&K Police. Colonel Sharma was the only commanding officer to have been decorated for gallantry for the second time in Kashmir, officials told. He had been part of several counter-terrorism operations in the past. He had received gallantry as a CO when he had saved the lives of his men by quelling a militant running towards them with a hidden grenade.

At the first light of the day the Indian Army carried out a final assault to neutralise militants hiding in the area. Later in the day, re-enforcement were asked for and a door-to-door raid was conducted as a part of the standard operating procedure (SOP). Internet services were also stopped as a part of the operation.

This is one of the worst losses for the Army in recent years in the valley. The last time an officer of the rank of Commanding Officer was lost in a operation was in 2015. Repeated Intelligence input have warned that this year would be particularly violent in Kashmir as Pak funded terrorists have been asked to raise voice for the decision to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh have condemned the incident with a tweet on Twitter. “The loss of our soldiers and security personnel in Handwara (J&K) is deeply disturbing and painful. They showed describe yourself essay exemplary courage in their fight against the terrorists and made supreme sacrifice while serving the country. We will never forget their bravery and sacrifice,” he wrote.

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