J-K: Four Army personnel, one cop killed in Handwara encounter

Handwara: Five security force personnel, including a Colonel and a Major and a police officer, were killed in the gunbattle with terrorists in Handwara in north Kashmir, Indian Army said on Sunday.

“Four Indian Army personnel including the Commanding Officer, Major of 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit along with 2 soldiers and one Jammu and Kashmir Police jawan lost their lives in an encounter in Handwara in Jammu and Kashmir,” Army officials said.

The name of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles Commanding Officer, who lost his life in the Handwara operation, is Colonel Ashutosh Sharma. He had been part of several successful counter-terrorism operations in the past, Army officials said.

Two terrorists were neutralised in the encounter, which ensued between terrorists and security forces at Chanjmullah area of Handwara on Saturday.

The team of 21 Rashtriya Rifles had entered the house of a civilian to prevent a hostage situation when they came under attack from the terrorists who had already reached there. While the four Army personnel and the police Sub Inspector lost their lives in the encounter, the civilians trapped in the house were safely evacuated.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir police on Sunday paid tributes to security personnel killed in Handwara encounter.

Five security force personnel — Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, CO 21 RR, Major Anuj Sood, Sub Inspector Sageer Ahmad Qazi, Lance Naik Dinesh Singh, and Naik Rajesh Kumar were killed in the gunbattle with terrorists in Handwara in north Kashmir, Indian Army said on Sunday.

Jammu and Kashmir police said that Sub Inspector Sageer Ahmad Pathan Qazi who was born in 1978 in Trad Karnah of Kupwara District was appointed as Constable in 1999 in Armed Wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

“He volunteered for working in Police SOG, an elite Counter-Terrorist Force in 2006 and continued there till yesterday because of his outstanding performance…During his posting in SOG, he remained part of and led various successful anti-terror operations,” J-K police said.

It further said, “In recognition of his immense contribution, he was granted three out of turn promotions and he rose from the rank of a constable to Sub-Inspector over the years. This courageous officer was honoured with various medals which include – Sheri-Kashmir Police Medal for Gallantry in 2009.”