Reyaz Rashid

 Chanjmullah encounter causes massive causality to forces

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Colonel, army major, police officer among five killed, two militants also killed

Handwara: One Army Colonel, one major, two Army jawans and police sub inspector and two militants were killed in  gunfight which broke out between the militants and government forces in Chanjmullah Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday.

Commanding Officer of an Army’s counter-insurgency unit 21 Rashtriya Rifles along with an Army Major, a sub inspector of special operation group SoG, and two Army Jawans lost contact with forces when the joint party went inside the house in Chanjimullah village where militants were hiding.

The Army officers were leading a team to rescue civilians who had been taken hostage by the militants, the officials said.

“When we lost contact with the team for the several hours and found communication device of the team with militants, we understand the team has been kept hostage by militants and all is not well,” a top Army official said.

Heavy reinforcement was the rushed including elite para forces to the area in a bid rescue the team with whom contact was lost and to neutralize the militants.

The operation continued for night with severe impedements due inclement weather as it was raining heavily in the area, sources said.

At the first light on Sunday, the worst fears of the security establishment came true as all the five men were found dead, they said.

A top Army official indentified the slain as a Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, a Major Anup Sood and two soldiers Naik Rajesh,

Lance Naik Dinesh of 21 Rashtriya Rifles besides a Sub Inspector Mohammad Sagier Qazi of J&K Police’s Special Operation Group.

An army officer confirmed all the five forces men lost their lives and bodies two militants were also recovered. The officer said that a soldier namely Shinbe Mangesh sustained injury in his right leg and was hospitalized.

A senior police officer also confirmed the death of the five security men and two militants. The officer said that the “operation has been concluded” as bodies of the slain militants have also been recovered along with two weapons and other “warlike stores”. He said that both the militants were foreigners and their group affiliation and identities are being ascertained.

“In this connection, a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and further investigations were taken up,” the officer said.

The operation in Handwara forest began on Friday after militants and joint teams of forces exchanged brief firing at Waderbala Thursday. Forces continued combing operation in the area and to a fresh contact was established at around 3 pm in Chanjimullah, nearly 3 km away from Waderbala.

Pertinently, a search operation was started by the army’s 15 and 21RR besides 9 para commandoes and police in Rajwar and Mawar forest areas of Handwara on Friday afternoon amid reports that a group of militants was hiding there.

The search team had also fired several warning shots during the cordon and search operation following which an encounter ensued. The militants later took shelter inside a residential house in nearby area and army and police cordoned off the village and sealed all possible ways to prevent the militants from escaping.

Meanwhile , Army on Sunday said that five security men including a colonel and a major besides a police officer were killed after they “successfully extricated civilians held hostage by militants” in Chanjimullah Rajwar area of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

“Based on the intelligence input that militants were taking the civilian inmates of a house in Changimul, Handwara of Kupwara district hostage, a joint operation was launched by Army and JK Police on 02 May 2020,” army’s Srinagar based spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia in a statement issued here said.

A team comprising of five Army and JK Police personnel entered the target area occupied by the militants to evacuate the civilians, the spokesman said.

“The team of Army and JK Police entered the target area, and successfully extricated the civilians. However, during the process, the team was subjected to heavy volume of fire by the militants,” the spokesman said.

In the ensuing fire fight, two militants were eliminated and the team of five Security Forces Personnel comprising of two Army officers, two Army soldiers and one JK Police Sub Inspector attained martyrdom in the service to the Nation,” the spokesman added.

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