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2 Army officers, DSP killed in ongoing gunfight with terrorists in J-K’s Anantnag



2 Army officers, DSP killed in ongoing gunfight with terrorists in J-K’s Anantnag

Security forces took a major hit in Kashmir on Wednesday when a Commanding Officer and a Major of Indian Army and a police officer were killed during a fierce and ongoing gunfight in south Kashmir, officials said on Wednesday.

The gunfight erupted during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday after a joint team of police and Army launched a counter insurgency operation at Garol village of Kokernag area in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The operation was set in motion based on specific intelligence pinpointing the presence of terrorists within Garol, said a spokesperson of Indian Army’s Chinar Corps based in Srinagar.

As the security forces entered the Garol, they came under intense fire from the concealed positions of militants, strategically ensconced amidst the dense foliage of the forest, officials told The Tribune.

In the initial exchange of fire, a commanding officer of Indian Army’s 19 Rashtriya Rifles Manpreet Singh was killed on spot and Major Ashish Dhonack and a deputy superintendent of police Humayun Bhat received multiple bullet injuries, police officers told The Tribune.

Both Dhonack and Bhat later succumbed to their injuries, they said.

Security forces had to push in choppers to evacuate the bodies of the officers.

CO Manpreet Singh belongs to Ropar district of Punjab while as Humayun Bhat is a resident of south Kashmir’s Tral sub-district. In 2018, Bhat’s father Ghulam Hassan Bhat retired as deputy inspector general of J&K police.

In past few years, the militants were pushed to the corners after security forces launched major operations in Kashmir, killing hundreds of them.

However, the militants changed the tactics and shifted their bases to Poonch-Rajouri axis in Jammu province, killing many army soldiers in ambushes.

The Kokernag attack is seen as a major escalation by the militants in Kashmir after many years.

“It looks like the militants have taken over the forest area extending from Poonch, Rajouri to south Kashmir,” said a security forces officer.

Nearly a dozen commanding officers have been killed in the past three decades of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.

In May 2020, Col Ashutosh Sharma was among the five security personnel killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Handwara Kashmir. He was the second Commanding Officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles who lost his life in combating terrorism.

Officials say three terrorists were believed to be present in the area and are hiding in the dense forest.

The banned Resistance Front, believed to be a shadow group of LeT, has claimed the responsibility, according to the PTI.

The operation against the terrorists began on Tuesday evening in Gadole area but was called off during the night. This morning, the hunt for the terrorists resumed after information started trickling that they were spotted at a hideout, the officials said.

Colonel Singh, leading his team from the front, attacked the terrorists. However, the terrorists fired upon him and he was critically injured. 

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