Srinagar, September 14 (IANS): As the nation paid tributes to the colonel, a major, and a DSP who were killed in the line of duty during an encounter in Kokernag area of Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, the Army on Thursday said that the operation is still under progress and two more personnel have been injured.
"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 JKP on night of 12-13 September.
"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," the Army said in a statement.
"Search columns, to the higher reaches were being led from the front by Col Manpreet Singh, Sena Medal, Commanding Officer of 19 RR Bn and Maj Aashish Dhonchak, Sena Medal, Company Commander of Kokernag Company of 19 RR Bn. The columns moved through re-entrants and rugged terrain which had dense foliage and undergrowth. On September 13, at approximately 12.30 p.m., troops came under heavy fire. They retaliated, and engaged the terrorists," it added.
It said that in the ensuing fire fight, Col Singh, Maj Dhonchak, and DSP Humayun 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 mortal remains of the two army officers were retrieved through specialised operations in the treacherous terrain.
"In the ensuing operations two more personnel have been injured. The operation is still under progress."
Col Singh, 41, a resident of Haryana's Panchkula, had joined the Army in 2005. He is survived by his wife and two young children.
Major Dhonchak, 34, a resident of Haryana's Panipat, had joined the Army in 2013. He issurvived by his wife and a young daughter.
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, Chinar Corps Commander, Lt Gen Rajiv Ghai, along with the J&K Chief Secretary, the Security Advisor to the Lt Governot, the DGP and numerous other dignitaries have laid wreaths to pay homage to the bravehearts in a solemn ceremony at BB Cantt on Thursday.
"The mortal remains of late Col Manpreet Singh and late Major Aashish 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. In this hour of grief, the Indian Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved families and remains committed to their dignity, safety and well being," the army statement said.