According to Indian Army officials, four personnel of Indian Army, including the commanding Officer and the Major of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit, and one J&K Police personnel were martyred on Sunday morning in an encounter between joint security forces and terrorists in Handwara in Jammu and Kashmir. In addition to commanding officers and major the other three security personnel were killed including two jawans and one Sub-Inspector of the J&K Police.
As per the reports three terrorists were gunned down and one civilian was killed during an overnight anti-insurgency operation in a village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara town. Due to the encounter the internet service was suspended in Sopore, Baramulla, Handwara and Kupwara.
An Army jawan was injured and hospitalised. Two militants were earlier gunned down by the forces, one of whom was a top commander of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba from Pakistan. During the cordon-and-search operation in Handwara’s Chanjimullah area the authorities suddenly lost contact with the Army-police team. While reinforcements including Para commandos were rushed there, they couldn’t move in due to hostile weather and darkness.
Colonel Ashutosh Sharma Commanding Officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles has lost his life in the Handwara encounter. He had earlier been involved with several successful counter-terror operations in the past. On which ANI twitted “Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit lost his life in an encounter yesterday with terrorists in Handwara area of Jammu and Kashmir. He had been part of several successful counter-terrorist operations in the past”.
The officials of the armed force said that 21 Rashtriya Rifles team had received intelligence input which suggested that terrorists were taking hostage the civilian inmates of a house in Changimulla, Handwara of the Kupwara district in the union territory. Based on this input, a joint operation was launched by the Indian Army and the J&K Police.
The Indian Army spokeman said 21 Rashtriya Rifles team entered the house of a civilian to prevent a hostage situation when they came under heavy fire from terrorists who had already reached there. In the ensuing gunfight, the four army men and the cop lost their lives. However civilians stuck inside the house were safely evacuated
-Davinder Singh, NMTV News