On 3rd May, Sunday morning J&K’s Handwara town in the Kupwara district witnessed an encounter between terrorists in which an Indian Army Colonel, a major, two jawans and a sub police inspector were martyred.This joint operation in Handwara’s Changimulla was organised by the Indian Army and the J&K Police.
The terrorists had been using civilians as human shields to sneak into the valley and dodge the army personnel. It is rumoured that they used as many as 11 civilians for this purpose.This operation was initiated after the Army received an intelligence report that some civilians were being held hostage in their house in Changimulla, Handwara. An intense gun battle of 8 hours ensued and the army and police personnel managed to extricate all the civilians but the heavy firing took their lives as they fearlessly stood in the line of duty.
The names of the martyrs are: Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles. Colonel Ashutosh Sharma was a decorated officer and the only commanding officer to have been decorated twice for gallantry in Kashmir. He had been a part of the counter – terrorism operations in the past and had emerged victorious in all of them.
The other brave personnel who were killed in Handwara have been identified as Sena Medal Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rakesh Kumar, Lance Naik Dinesh Singh and Sub Inspector Shakeel Qazi.
The forces carried out the final assault at the crack of dawn and internet services had been snapped for this operation. It is learnt through confirmed sources that “Haider ’’Lashkar-e-Taiba commander was among the two militants killed during this operation on Sunday, however the identity of the second militant is still unknown.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has saluted the martyrs for their sacrifice and said that the Nation will never forget their martyrdom.