Srinagar, May 3 (IANS) Seven including two senior Army officers, two junior ranks, an officer of the local police and two terrorists were martyred in the fierce gunbattle on Sunday in Jammu and Kashmir”s Kupwara district.
Srinagar based Defence Ministry spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia confirmed the martyrdom of the five security personnel with their ranks without giving out their names.
Top sources told IANS an Army Colonel commanding a Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalion in the Rajwar area of Handwara tehsil, a Major, commanding a company of the same RR battalion, a Lance Naik and a rifleman in addition to an officer of the SOG of local police were martyred in the 20-hour long gunfight between holed up terrorists and the security forces in the Chanjimulla village of Handwara tehsil.
Two terrorists have also been killed in this encounter whose exact identity is being established.
Although firing has stopped at the encounter site, but searches are going on there.
Para commandos of the army and other security personnel had started the final assault against the terrorists with the first light Sunday morning.
The para commandos started room intervention to segregate the security personnel and the holed up terrorists inside the house.
The Commanding Officer of the 21 RR (Colonel), a Major, two soldiers deployed as personal guards of the commanding officer in addition to a police Sub-Inspector of the SOG and his guard, a constable, had entered the house at grave danger to their lives to rescue civilians and to eliminate the holed up terrorists.
The lone surviving security man among those who entered the house is the security guard of the SOG Sub-Inspector according to sources, but that awaits official confirmation.
After the security personnel entered the house they lost radio contact with the surrounding security men triggering concern about their safety.
Top sources told IANS radio contact between the surrounding security men and those officers who had entered the house being used as a fortified bunker by the terrorists, was lost around 2 p.m. Saturday.
Senior officers of the Army and the state police had reached the encounter site Saturday evening to supervise the operation and the final assault against the holed up terrorists while ensuring that no collateral damage was caused to the civilians and property in the area.
An official confirmation from Army”s Udhampur headquartered northern command and the police headquarters is still awaited.
The names of the slain martyrs would only be officially known through that confirmation.
This operation was initially launched jointly by the RR and the SOG of local police after reports that two to three terrorists were hiding in the Rajwar”s densely forested area in the Handwara tehsil.
Fearing for their lives, the terrorists had come down and entered a local house in the Chanjimulla village without caring about the lives of the villagers.