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Col, Maj, Deputy SP killed in Kashmir terror ambush

Col. Manpreet Singh was among the three officers who laid down their lives during an ambush in Kashmir.

Three officers of the Indian Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police, including a Colonel, laid the sacrifice of their life when they were fatally ambushed and attacked in the Anantnag district of southern Kashmir on Wednesday.

Official sources said that the troops of Rashtriya Rifles 19th battalion, in coordination with the Jammu and Kashmir Police, launched a search operation in the Gadole forest area of Kokernag in Anantnag district in the evening on Wednesday. The operation was suspended for a night due to darkness.

On Wednesday, an unknown number of militants in ambush attacked the front party led by Col Manpreet Singh, Commanding Officer of RR 19 Bn. In the fierce exchange of fire, Col Manpreet, Major Aashish Dhonchak and Deputy Superintendent of Police, Humayun Bhat, were critically injured. All the three officers were subsequently evacuated but they succumbed to injuries. At least three more soldiers were reportedly injured in the operation as one of them was evacuated and admitted to 92 Base Hospital of the Army in Srinagar.

The dead body of Dy SP Humayun Bhat was airlifted to 92 Base Hospital, Srinagar, even as the bodies of the two Army officers were still being retrieved at the site of the encounter. An official confirmation at the time of the filing of this story was awaited.

Sources said that even after suffering the loss of the three officers, troops established contact with the militants hiding in the forest cover and an encounter was going on in the evening on Wednesday.

On 4 August 2023, militants had similarly killed three soldiers in an encounter in the adjoining Kulgam district in the foothills of the Pir Panjal mountain range. The militants escaped.

Later, on 21 August 2023, all the holed up militants escaped during a cordon-and-search operation at Parigam, in the Pulwama district of South Kashmir, when they opened fire and left two personnel injured.

According to the Police and the Army officials, these three incidents are an indication of some fresh deployment and infiltration of militants in certain areas of the Kashmir valley. Officials believe that some groups of the militants operating in Jammu’s Poonch, Rajouri and Reasi districts have reached the Pir Panjal foothills of Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts in Kashmir and established their hideouts in the forest areas.

An officer of the rank of Commanding Officer has died in a militant attack or encounter in the Kashmir valley after a long pause.

Meanwhile, two militants and a soldier have died in another encounter in the Narla area of Rajouri district, in Jammu, on Tuesday.