Five security personnel, including four Indian Army Soldiers including the commanding officer of the Rashtriya Rifles’ 21 Battalion, and a sub-inspector of police was martyred in a terrorist operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara Encounter.
Indian Army’s officer Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar, and Lance Naik Dinesh from the 21 Rashtriya Rifles and Police officer Shakeel Ahmad Qazi sacrificed their lives in the Handwara Encounter. The terrorists managed to flee from the scene after being cornered as they used 11 civilians as human shields including five women and children. Two terrorists were killed during the joint operation.
“Sad to inform that five brave personnel including Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, and sub-inspector of JKP Shakeel Qazi were martyred in the line of duty,” said Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted “valor and sacrifice” of the security personnel “will never be forgotten”. “Tributes to our courageous soldiers and security personnel martyred in Handwara. Their valor and sacrifice will never be forgotten. They served the nation with utmost dedication and worked tirelessly to protect our citizens. Condolences to their families and friends,” he wrote.
Colonel Ashutosh Sharma who was also the commanding officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) led the raiding party as he had been leading his troops since the day joined the Army. He was decorated with Sena medal not once but twice. He maintained the highest tradition of the Indian Army of ‘Service before self’.
Major Anuj Sood’s father Brig (Retd) Chandrakant Sood said that his son has made supreme sacrifice. “It was part of his duty & what he was trained for. I feel sad for his wife as they just got married 3-4 months back,” he added.
CDS General Bipin Rawat said, “The operations highlight the determination of the security forces to safeguard the lives of the people. Commanding Officer leading from the front along with other personnel of the unit and J&K Police have laid down their lives, living up to the motto; Service Before Self.