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Handwara Encounter: 5 Indian Army Soldiers Including Col, Major Killed In Handwara, North Kashmir Gunfight

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In the Handwara Encounter, in Kupwara, North Kashmir, 5 Indian Army personnel including a Colonel, Major of 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) unit along with 2 Army soldiers and one Jammu and Kashmir Police sub-inspector lost their lives.

Both the terrorists were also killed.

According to sources, Colonel Ashutosh Sharma (21 RR), Major Anuj Sood (21 RR), a Lance Naik Dinesh (21 RR), Nail Rajesh (21 RR) and police sub-inspector Shakeel Qazi were killed in the Handwara encounter raging since Saturday. Their bodies have been recovered from the encounter site.

 

According to reports, the Indian Army carried out a decisive onslaught in the early morning to neutralize the militants hiding in the area. Re-enforcements were brought in and door-to-door checks were conducted.

As per reports – “based on the intelligence received by the security forces, the terrorists were attempting to take civilians of a house in Changimulla, Handwara hostage and a joint operation was launched by the Indian Army and Jammu & Kashmir Police.

The security forces reportedly barged-in the house to evacuate the civilians and managed to free them, successfully.  “However, during the process, the security forces came under heavy fire from the hiding terrorists.

In the ensuing gunfight, two terrorists were neutralized and the team of five army and JK personnel, comprising two Army officers, two Army soldiers and one JK Police Sub Inspector, attained martyrdom,” the official statement from the army said.

Indian defence minister – Rajnath Singh condemned the attack and tweeted: 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.

Handwara Encounter: Initial Reports

Earlier, the Indian security forces were engaged in an hours-long firefight with militants caged in a house in north Kashmir’s Handwara, presuming the gunmen to be Pakistani terrorists who recently infiltrated into the region.

According to unnamed officials and initial reports, about four terrorists were believed to be involved in the Handwara encounter that began around 3:30 pm in Chanjmulla area of Handwara, in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Two senior army officers, a J&K police official from SOG, and a soldier were close to the site of the encounter, news agency PTI initially reported. According to the sources, a hunt was undertaken to trace the missing personnel, while the operation to neutralise the militants was also on, PTI reported.

The encounter began in the afternoon after Army and J&K police launched a joint operation in the forests of Rajwar following a tip-off about the presence of militants in the area. The militants emerged and hid inside a house.

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