Srinagar : Two senior army officers including Colonel and Major along with two Jawans and a Sub-Inspector of Jammu and Kashmir police were among five security men Martyred in a gunfight with militants in Chanjimulla Handwara, a forest area in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, on Sunday. Two militants were also killed in this gunfight.
Official sources told that after an initial fierce firefight, there was a lull following which five security Men including a Colonel namely Ashutosh Sharma, a Major namely Anup Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar and L/Naik Dinesh singh of 21 Rashtriya Rifles(RR) besides a Sub Inspector namely Mohammad Sagier Qazi Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The spokesman said the operation was launched after the intelligence input that terrorists were taking the civilian inmates of a house in Changimul village hostage.
“A joint operation was launched by the Army and the police on Saturday. A team comprising five Army and police personnel entered the target area occupied by the terrorists to evacuate the civilians. They successfully extricated the civilians. However, during the process, the team was subjected to heavy volume of fire by the terrorists,” said the Army.
Meanwhile, the army rushed more personnel including Elite para forces to the area in a bid to “rescue the men with whom contact was lost and to neutralize the militants.” The operation, they said, was suspended for the night for “obvious reasons” amid inclement weather as it was raining heavily in the area.
At the first light on Sunday morning , the worst fears of the security establishment came true as all the five men were found dead, they said. An army officer confirmed the casualties and said that the bodies of two militants were also recovered. The officer said that a soldier namely Shinbe Mangesh sustained injury in his right leg and was hospitalized.
A senior police officer also confirmed the death of the five security men and two militants. The officer said that the “operation has been concluded” as bodies of the slain militants have also been recovered along with two weapons and other equipments. He said that both the militants were foreigners and their group affiliation and identities are being ascertained.
“In this connection, a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and further investigations were taken up,” the officer said.
Pertinently, a search operation was started by the army’s 15 and 21RR besides 9 para commandoes and police in Rajwar and Mawar forest areas of Handwara on Friday afternoon, reports that a group of militants was hiding there. The search team had also fired several warning shots during the cordon and search operation following which an encounter ensued. The militants later took shelter inside a residential house in nearby area and army and police cordoned off the village and sealed all possible ways to prevent the militants from escaping.