Col among 3 officers killed in Kashmir encounter

Srinagar: Three senior security officers – a decorated colonel, a major and a Deputy Superintendent of Police were killed on Wednesday in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, officials said

This is the biggest hit security forces took in Kashmir this year.

Officials said three security officers including the decorated Commanding Officer of Army’s elite counter-insurgency unit 19 Rashtriya Rifles were injured during an encounter in a Gadole area of Kokernag which erupted when joint teams of forces were carrying a cordon and a search operation (CASO) in the area.

“As the cordon was being laid, the terrorists opened fire leading to the injuries to three officers,” officials said.
The injured officers later succumbed, they added.

There is no report of any militant casualty so far.

Officials identified the slain as Colonel Manpreet Singh, Major Aashish Dhonchak and Deputy Superintendent of Police Himanyun Bhat.

Col Manpreet was awarded the Sena Medal of 19 RR 12 SIKHLI in 2021.

Top police and army officers including J&K’s Director General of Police Dilbag Singh, 15 Corps Commander Lt Gen Rajiv Ghai who is senior-most Indian army officer in Kashmir rushed to Kokernag area to supervise the operation against militants.

Additional forces have been rushed to the area to flush out the militants, officials said.

The banned Resistance Front, believed to be a shadow group of Lashkar-e-Taiba, has claimed responsibility.

This is the second encounter in the last 24 hours. Earlier, one soldier was killed and three security forces personnel were injured during a fierce encounter in Rajouri district of Jammu. Police said two terrorists were also killed in the Rajouri encounter.

The killing of three officers have evoked widespread condemnation from mainstream parties.

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