Prime Minister Narendra Modi lead the nation in paying tributes to the soldiers killed in Kashmir today.
"Tributes to our courageous soldiers and securitypersonnel martyred in Handwara. Their valour and sacrifice will never beforgotten. They served the nation with utmost dedication and worked tirelesslyto protect our citizens. Condolences to their families and friends," thePrime Minister said in a tweet.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described it as "deeplydisturbing and painful".
Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said the operationhighlighted the determination of the security forces to safeguard the lives ofthe people of Kashmir.
The Army, in a tweet, said Chief of Army Staff General M MNaravane and all ranks of the force paid tributes to the "valiant bravesof our Army and JK Police for their supreme sacrifice while fighting andeliminating militans in Handwara."
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday that theirsacrifice and bravery will never be forgotten.
He said, "The loss of our soldiers and securitypersonnel in Handwara is deeply disturbing and painful. They showed exemplarycourage in their fight against the militants and made supreme sacrifice whileserving the country. We will never forget their bravery and sacrifice."
The minister said that he offers his tributes to thesoldiers and security personnel who fell in action. "My heart goes out tothe families who lost their loved ones today. India stands shoulder to shoulderwith the families of these brave martyrs," the minister tweeted.
Saluting these personnel, the Chief of Defence Staff GeneralBipin Rawat said, "Commanding Officer leading from the front along withother personnel of the unit and J&K Police have laid down their lives,living upto the motto; Service Before Self."
In a statement, Indian Army said that based on theintelligence input that militants were taking the civilian inmates of a housein Changimulla at Handwara of Kupwara district hostage, a joint operation waslaunch by Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police.
"A team comprising of five Army and J&K Policepersonnel entered the target area occupied by the militants to evacuate the civilians.The team of Army and JK Police entered the target area and successfullyextricated the civilian," Army said.
The force stated that during the process, the team wassubjected to heavy volume of fire by the militants.
"In the ensuing fire fight two militants wereeliminated and the team of five army and J&K personnel comprising of twoArmy officers, two Army soldiers and one J&K Police Sub Inspector attainedmartyrdom," Army said.
Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu today paid tributesto the slain security personnel.
"The Lt Governor observed that the supreme sacrifice made bysecurity personnel who attained martyrdom during an encounter in Handwara areaof Kashmir will always be remembered. He also expressed his solidarity with thefamilies of the martyrs and said that the sacrifices of these brave-hearts willnot go waste," a statement said.