SRI NAGAR: An Army officer, who was awarded the Yudh Seva medal-- for meticulous planning and outstanding success in carrying out anti-militancy operations-- in the honours announced on this year’s Republic Day, was killed along with a police man in an encounter with Hizbul Mujahideen militants at Tral in Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. Colonel Munindra Nath Rai and Signalman Nilesh Kumar were killed in a firefight with militants in a Handura area of Tral in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district,while police constable Sanjeevan Singh sustained bullet injuries.
Army spokesman Colonel Brijesh Pandey said that based on specific intelligence about presence of militants in the area, a joint combing and search operation was launched by Army’s counter insurgency 42 Rashtriya Rifles and police men on Tuesday.
“Militants fired from automatic weapons towards the security personnel. The fire was returned by the troops triggering an encounter. In the ensuing firefight, two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed,” he said. The injured were evacuated to Army Hospital in Srinagar, where Colonel Rai and police constable Sanjeevan Singh succumbed to injuries,” he said.
Hailing from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, Colonel Rai was awarded Yudh Sena Medal on January 26 for recognition of his exemplary service and bravery. He is survived by two daughters and a son.
Army’s Northern command chief Lt Gen D S Hooda paid rich tributes to the brave hearts for the valour and courage displayed by them in the line of duty.
“Our heart goes out to the families and we pay pray the Almighty to give them strength to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude,” said the Northern Command chief. The deceased Hizbul militants were identified as Sheeraz Hassan Dar and Abid Hussain Khan alias Hamza, both locals.
“Sheeraz was involved in killing and intimidating Sarpanchs in Tral area and was instrumental in motivating local youth into joining militancy,” a police spokesman said He said Abid was also involved in many militant activities. Police sources said one of the killed militant was son of a policeman.