Two more soldiers have been injured today in the encounter, which is underway in the dense forests of Kokernag in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The army and the police launched a joint search operation to hunt down the terrorists late at night on Tuesday. The fierce encounter broke out in the early hours of Wednesday.
The General-Officer-Commanding (GOC) of the Chinar Corps, Lt General Rajiv Ghai and the GOC of the Victor Force, Maj General Balbir Singh are closely monitoring the operations and said the terrorists will not be spared.
The anti-terror operation has been intensified by the army and the Jammu and Kashmir police, and new-generation weapons and devices are being used to pin the terrorists down. The forces are also using the strike-capable Heron drones in the operation that has been underway for over 40 hours.
The Army, Police Joint-Operation
On the night of September 12-13, a joint search operation by the army and the Jammu and Kashmir police was launched, and a cordon was laid in search of two to three terrorists in the Garol village area of Anantnag, officials said.
Following an extensive search, the forces ascertained that the terrorists were in a hideout in the higher reaches of the village in the dense forest area.
Colonel Manpreet Singh, led the search column of 19 RR, with Major Aashish Dhonchak, the commander of the Kokernag company of 19 RR, accompanying him in the operation. They moved through the entrants and rugged terrain of the forests.
Around noon yesterday, the column came under heavy fire from the terrorists who were hiding. The search column retaliated and engaged, but in the fierce gunfight, Colonel Singh, Major Dhonchak and DSP Himanyun Bhat suffered gunshot wounds and later died due to the injuries.
Colonel Manpreet Singh, Sena Medal (Gallantry), was the Commanding Officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles Unit (19 RR) and Major Aashish Dhonchak, Sena Medal (Gallantry), was the company commander of 19 RR. Himanyun Muzamil Bhat was a Deputy Superintendent (DySP) in the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha today laid a wreath to pay homage to the army officers in Srinagar. The bodies of the officers will be transported through a special aircraft to their native hometowns.
The army said the bodies of the officers were retrieved through a specialized operation in the treacherous terrain of Kokernag.