Colonel Manpreet Singh, who was among three security personnel killed in a gunfight with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag in the early hours of Wednesday, spoke to his family members for the last time at 6:45 am that day.
Colonel Singh, Major Ashish Dhonack, and Deputy Superintendent Himayun Bhat were left with serious injuries after a gun battle with terrorists in Anantnag’s Garol area on Wednesday.
The officers died of their injuries during treatment, according to the officials. A jawan also died, and the whereabouts of another soldier are not yet known.
“We last spoke to him (Colonel Singh) at 6:45 am. He said he would speak later. He was a good man. Last year, he was awarded the Sena Medal for his duty. I salute him,” Colonel Singh’s brother-in-law Virender Gill said.
The 41-year-old was a commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles.
Major Ashish Dhonack, 34, is survived by his wife and two-year-old daughter who live in Haryana’s Panipat.
“Last spoke to him on the telephone. He was home one and a half months ago and was supposed to return in October to shift houses,” said Major Dhonack’s uncle.
Himayun Bhat, Deputy Superintendent of J&K Police, was the son of retired Inspector General of J&K Police Ghulam Hassan Bhat and died due to heavy blood loss. Mr Bhat and his wife had welcomed a son only a month ago.
The bodies of the police officer and the two army officers were retrieved from the forests of the Kokernag area of Anantnag.
Dilbagh Singh, Director General Of J&K Police and Lt General Rajiv Ghai, Army’s 15 Corps commander were among the top officials who rushed to the encounter site to supervise the evacuation of bodies.
Acting on specific intelligence about the presence of terrorists, the army and police launched a joint operation late on Tuesday night.
The troops, led by the commanding officer and a deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir police, came under a barrage of gunfire.
The three officers were critically injured in a fierce gun battle with terrorists. Reinforcements were quickly dispatched to the scene, but the injured could not be immediately evacuated due to heavy gunfire from the well-entrenched terrorists, sources have said.
Wednesday’s encounter came a day after Kent, a six-year-old female Labrador dog of the Army’s canine unit was killed and three security personnel injured in a gunfight in Rajouri. Two terrorists were killed in the earlier gunfight.