Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid rich tributes to the soldiers and security personnel killed in the encounter.
Srinagar: Two senior army officers – a colonel and a major- were among the five security personnel killed in action during an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district, which began on Saturday and continued overnight. A police officer and two army soldiers were the other security personnel who came under heavy fire.
A joint anti-terrorist operation by the armed forces and J&K Police was carried out in the Handwara area of the district in north Kashmir, about 70 km from capital Srinagar, an official statement said, adding that the five-member team was able to rescue several civilians. Two terrorists were killed during the joint operation.
“Based on the intelligence input that terrorists were taking the civilian inmates of a house in Changimulla, (in the) Handwara (area) of Kupwara district, hostage, a joint operation was launch by Army and JK Police. A team comprising of five Army and JK Police personnel entered the target area occupied by the terrorists to evacuate the civ (civilians),” the statement read.
“The team of Army and JK Police entered the tgt (target) area and successfully extricated the civ. However, during the process, the team was subjected to heavy volume of fire by the terrorists,” it added.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Twitter paid rich tributes to the army officers and security personnel killed in the encounter. “The loss of our soldiers and security personnel in Handwara(J&K) is deeply disturbing and painful. They showed exemplary courage in their fight against the terrorists and made supreme sacrifice while serving the country. We will never forget their bravery and sacrifice (sic),” he wrote.
“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 news agency PTI.
In a tweet, senior J&K cop Imtiyaz Hussain said: “After a long anxious night, we have this heart-rending news about martyrdom of our brave-hearts.”
Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Sorry to hear about the army & police officers & the jawan who laid down their lives in the line of duty in Handwara this morning. May their souls rest in peace & may their families & colleagues find strength at this difficult time. (sic)”