Two Army officers were leading the search operation from front: Army

Srinagar: The two decorated Army officers who were killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Wednesday were leading the search parties from the front.

Divulging the details about the operation for the first time, Army said on receipt of specific intelligence inputs about the presence of two to three terrorists and a likely hideout in general area of village Garol, Anantnag, a joint search operation was launched by Indian Army and Police on night of Tuesday and Wednesday.

They said a cordon was established and a detailed search of the village was conducted.
“Based on further leads obtained during the search, it was ascertained that the terrorists were in a hideout in the higher reaches above the village which was covered with dense foliage and undergrowth,” Army statement said.

It added that search columns to the higher reaches were being led from the front by Col Manpreet Singh, Sena Medal, Commanding Officer of 19 Rashtriya Rifles and Maj Aashish Dhonchak, Sena Medal, Company Commander of Kokernag Company of 19 RR.

“The columns moved through re-entrants and rugged terrain which had dense foliage and undergrowth. On 13 Sep ( Wednesday) at approximately 1230hr in the afternoon troops came under heavy fire. They retaliated, and engaged the terrorists. In the ensuing fire fight Col Manpreet Singh, Maj Aashish Dhonchak, and DSP Humayun, JKP suffered gunshot wounds and later succumbed laying down their lives in service to the Nation in the finest traditions of the Indian Army and Security Forces,” the Army said.

They said mortal remains of Col Manpreet Singh, Maj Aashish Dhonchak were retrieved through specialized operations in the treacherous terrain.

Army said in the ensuing operations two more personnel have been injured and the operation is still under progress.

Col Manpreet Singh, 41, resident of Panchkula, Haryana had joined the Army in 2005. The braveheart is survived by his wife and two young children, Army said.

Maj Dhonchak, 31, a resident of Panipat, Haryana had joined the Indian Army in 2013,. The braveheart is survived by his wife and a young daughter.

J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, and Lt Gen Rajiv Ghai, Chinar Corps Commander along with Chief Secretary J&K, Security Advisor to LG, DGP J&K and numerous other dignitaries laid wreaths to pay homage to the bravehearts in a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonment.
Army said the mortal remains Col Manpreet Singh and Maj Dhonchak have been transported by a special aircraft for last rites to their native hometowns where they would be laid to rest with full military honours.


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