Top Lashkar terrorist Haider killed in gunfight In Which Colonel Ashutosh And Major Anuj Sood Martyred With Three Others
Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, the commanding officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit, who was martyred in operation in Handwara, had been twice awarded gallantry medals for exemplary bravery in counter-terrorist missions.
He is the second commanding officer of 21 RR who has laid down his life while Commanding.He is also the first Commanding Officer or a Colonel-rank Army Officer in the last five years to have lost his life in an anti terrorist operations.
Colonel MN Rai lost his life in operation over five years ago in January 2015 in an operation in the Kashmir valley while Colonel Santosh Mahadik lost his life in November same year.
Army officials said Colonel Ashutosh Sharma belonging to the Guards Regiment had been serving in the Kashmir valley for a long time and was twice awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry including one for his bravery as commanding officer. He had received his gallantry award as a commanding officer when a terrorist was rushing towards his men on a road with a grenade hidden in his clothes.
Sharma shot him at a close range which helped in saving the lives of many of his troops along with Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel. Army persons who lost their lives in the Handwara operation include Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh and Lance Naik Dinesh. Two terrorists were also killed in the operation by the Army in the remote location of Handwara.
A top commander of Lashkar-e Taiba was killed in the operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara, inspector general of police Vijay Kumar said on Sunday.
The Lashkar operative was identified as Haider from Pakistan by news agency ANI.
The army had said earlier in the day that two terrorists were gunned down in the encounter, which ensued between terrorists and Army at Changimullah area of Handwara on Saturday.
A colonel, a Major, two Army Jawans and one other from Security force taking part in this joint operations with Army also died in the Handwara encounter on Saturday after an hours-long gun battle with the terrorists who were holding civilian hostages.
The personnel killed in action are Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, the commanding officer of the army’s 21 Rashtriya Rifles battalion, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar and Lance Naik Dinesh Singh and sub-inspector Shakeel Qazi of the Jammu and Kashmir police.
The joint operation by the army and Security Forces was launched on Saturday afternoon to rescue the civilians who had been taken hostage by the terrorists inside a house.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the army said the joint operation was launched on the basis of intelligence that terrorists were holding civilian hostages at Changimulla.
“A team comprising five army and J&K Police personnel entered the target area occupied by the terrorists to evacuate the civilians. The team entered the target area and successfully extricated the civilians,” the statement said.