Colonel’s Wife phone call was answered by Asalam Walekum and she understood
A Colonel, a major, and a police officer were killed during the encounter between security forces and terrorists in Handwara, Kupwara on Sunday. Soldiers who martyred were identified as Colonel Ashutosh Sharma and his subordinates Lance Naik Dinesh, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh and J&K police sub-inspector Shageer Qazi. Colonel Ashutosh Sharma was the commanding officer of the Rashtriya Rifles unit.
One of the two militants killed in the encounter is self-styled Chief Commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba in Kashmir, identified as Haider. The other militant is yet to be recognized.
Timeline of the Handwara encounter
According to early reports, it all started when security forces launched the operation after they received lead that the militants have taken shelter in the after escaping from Rajwar forest on Friday afternoon. Security forces had inputs of two or three militants in one house but a group of eight to ten ultras may have been hiding in multiple houses nearby.
A team of five security personnel entered the target area occupied by the terrorist to evacuate civilians and catch the militants. The team of Army and J&K Police entered the house and evacuated the civilians but during the process the team came under intense firing from one corner of the house they were entering, sources said.
As it was a dark night, some militants escaped while two were neutralized after the army carried out a final assault with the first light of the morning.
Terrorist group profile
Haider was active in Kashmir since 2015, recruiting and motivating youth to join the militant ranks. He was a resident of POK area. He was one of the main faces of terrorism in Kashmir.
Police officials said, only one group is active in Zachaldara area of Handwara, which includes two locals and some foreigners currently. ” The group is considered to be associated with Lashkar-e-Toiba but they have rechristened into The Resistance Front.
As per the Preliminary reports, the same group was involved in an attack on former J&K police personnel on April 29. They barged into the residence of former police personnel in Kralgund of Handwara and opened fire leaving him critically injured.
This is the first instance since 2015 that we have lost a commanding officer in an encounter in Kashmir. The death toll adds to five Special Forces soldiers killed in an encounter that took place in April in the Keran sector and two soldiers who lost their lives during a cross border firing incident last week.
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