Uttarakhand: Mortal remains of Major VS Dhoundiyal brought to his residence in Dehradun. (ANI/Twitter)
Three Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, including 'Kamran', who was suspected to be linked to the February 14 terror attack on CRPF convoy, were killed in a fierce 16-hour encounter, in which four army personnel, including a major, a police head constable and a civilian lost their lives in south Kashmir on Monday. The bloody gun battle also left Deputy Inspector General of Police (South Kashmir) Amit Kumar, a Brigadier, a Lt Colonel, a Major and four other ranks of the Army unit injured that carried the operation in the Pinglan area of Pulwama district, 12 km from Thursday's audacious attack on CRPF personnel which left 40 jawans dead.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police was on the lookout for Kamran, the so-called divisional commander of Jaish-e-Mohammed for Pulwama, Tral and Awantipora areas of South Kashmir, after a suicide bomber belonging to the terror group drove his explosives-laden vehicle and detonated himself near a CRPF bus last week. The Pinglan encounter claimed the lives four Army personnel, a policeman, three Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists and a civilian, the officials said.
Two of the killed terrorists were identified as Kamran, a Pakistani national, and Hilal Ahmad, a local recruited by the terror group, they said, adding the identity of the third is being ascertained.
The soldiers were identified as Major VS Dhondial, Havaldar Sheo Ram and Sepoys Hari Singh and Ajay Kumar. A head constable of the police was also killed.
The injured included DIG (south Kashmir) Amit Kumar, who received a gunshot wound in the abdomen, and a brigade commander, who suffered injury in the leg. All the injured are stable, the officials said. Giving details, the officials said that an input was received from the police about presence of the Jaish terrorists in the area.
Uttarakhand: Mortal remains of Major VS Dhoundiyal who lost his life in an encounter in Pulwama earlier today, brought to his residence in Dehradun. pic.twitter.com/d4rx4vbPVT— ANI (@ANI) February 18, 2019
Immediately, a cordon-and-search operation was initiated and a house-to-house search was being conducted in the area. As the process was going on, terrorists fired at the army party that resulted in the death of the major and other personnel in the early hours of Monday. Thereafter, forces concentrated on the house from where the firing was coming and killed two of them -- Kamran and Hilal.
As the mopping up exercise was continuing, the third terrorist started firing, resulting in injuries to other personnel, they said. The third terrorist, who is yet to be identified, continued to move from house to house and carried out surprise attacks that resulted in injuries to the DIG and Brigade Commander as well as another Major.
The Jaish has claimed responsibility for the February 14 terror attack that targeted a convoy of 78 vehicles on its way from Jammu to Srinagar. About 2,500 CRPF personnel were on their way to the valley, many returning to work after leave.
The Army paid tributes to the fallen soldiers at a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonment, headquarters of the 15 Corps in Srinagar. Corps Commander Lt Gen KJS Dhillon led other ranks in paying homage to the four soldiers including Major Dhondial, who laid down their lives in the operation, a defence spokesperson said.
Representatives from other security agencies also joined in paying their last respects to the soldiers.
Srinagar: Earlier visuals from wreath laying ceremony of four Army personnel- Major VS Dhoundiyal, Havaldar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Ajay Kumar and Sepoy Hari Singh, who lost their lives in terrorist attack in Pulwama earlier today pic.twitter.com/BTjk0nddmB— ANI (@ANI) February 18, 2019
An army spokesperson said the 33-year-old Major had joined Army in 2011 and belonged to village Dangwal in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. He is survived by wife. Havaldar Ram, 36, had joined Army in 2000 and hailed from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. He is survived by wife and a son.
Sepoy Singh, 26, belonged to Rewari in Haryana. He joined the Army in 2011 and is survived by his wife and son. Sepoy Kumar hailed from village Bastikri in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. The 27-year-old had joined the Army in 2012 and is survived by his wife and a son.
Their mortal remains were flown to their native places for the last rites. In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved families of the slain personnel and remains committed to their dignity and wellbeing, the spokesperson said.
(With PTI inputs)