Colonel Killed in Kupwara Gunbattle

Reinforcements rushed, choppers pressed into service

KUPWARA: A Commanding Officer of army was killed while a soldier and a policeman were injured in the ongoing gunbattle with militants in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

As already reported army’s 41 RR and para-commandos intercepted the group of Lashkar-e-Taiba militants Monday evening in the Behak forest area near Sonwali village in Manigah.

The militants opened heavy fire triggering off a brief encounter.

However, reports said that the group of militants managed to escape again while taking advantage of darkness.

“Today (Tuesday) afternoon, the group was again intercepted by the Para-troopers and army’s 41 RR in the upper belt of forest area. The militant group opened indiscriminate fire upon the troops resulting in injuries to two soldiers including commanding officer of 41 RR identified as Colonel Santosh Mahadik and a policeman of SOG”, sources said.

They said that after a brief gunfight the militant group managed to escape again disappearing in the dense forests. “Since last week the said group had managed to give slip to troops at three different locations”, well placed sources said.

The injured soldier was identified as Majloon Ahmad of TA 160 and was attached with army’s 41 RR while as the policeman has been identified as Showkat Ahmad, they said.

All the injured were immediately evacuated to military hospital in Drugmulla where from CO was referred to army’s 92 Base Hospital Badamibagh, they said.

However, the doctors present at the military hospital declared the officer as brought dead, they said.

“Commanding officer lost his life while fighting with militants while as a soldier and a policeman received injuries in the encounter”, Army’s Srinagar based spokesman said.

He said that the search operation in the area is still going on.

Following the death of CO, more reinforcement from 9 para-commandos and SOG were rushed to the area to hunt down the militants, official sources said.

During the process, the army also pressed choppers and sniffer dogs into service to locate the militants roaming in the dense forests, they said.

Pertinently, two soldiers were injured on Friday evening when the group of militants attacked them before escaping from the spot.

On Nov 10, the army’s 41 RR had recovered the body of a militant in Kumkadi forests of Manigah who is believed to have died due to severe cold.

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