An Army Colonel and a Major were among five security personnel killed in an encounter at a village in Handwara in north Kashmir that also saw the elimination of two terrorists, officials said on Sunday.
Army officers Col Ashutosh Sharma and Major Anuj, and Jammu and Kashmir Police Sub-Inspector Shakeel Qazi were among the deceased, they said.
Col Sharma was leading a team to rescue civilians who had been taken hostage by the terrorists hiding in a house at the Chanjmullah area of Handwara in frontier Kupwara district of north Kashmir on Saturday, the officials said.
They said that based on the intelligence input that terrorists were taking the civilian inmates of a house in Changimul, Handwara of Kupwara district hostage, a joint operation was launched by Army and JK Police on 02 May 2020.
"A team comprising of five Army and JK Police personnel entered the target area occupied by the terrorists to evacuate the civilians. The team of Army and JK Police entered the target area, and successfully extricated the civilians," they said in a statement.
"However, during the process, the team was subjected to heavy volume of fire by the terrorists. In the ensuing firefight, two terrorists were eliminated and the team of five Security Forces Personnel comprising of two Army officers, two Army soldiers and one JK Police Sub Inspector attained martyrdom in the service to the Nation," they said.
Two terrorists were killed in the encounter, they said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called the incident disturbing and painful while offering his tributes to those who died.
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.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) May 3, 2020
"I offer my tributes to the soldiers and security personnel who fell in action. My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones today. India stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of these brave martyrs," Singh further tweeted.
(With PTI inputs)
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