Colonel among 4 killed in Tral gunfight

Colonel among 4 killed in Tral gunfight

The Commanding Officer of 42 RR, Colonel Munindra Nath Rai and Head Constable of SOG, Sanjay Kumar, were killed in the encounter with militants at Handoora village of Tral.

An Army Colonel of Rashtriya Rifles, a cop of Special Operations Group of J&K Police and two militants were killed while two soldiers injured in a fierce gunfight in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday, officials said.

The Commanding Officer of 42 RR, Colonel Munindra Nath Rai and Head Constable of SOG, Sanjay Kumar, were killed in the encounter with militants at Handoora village of Tral, they said.

Two militants identified as Abid Khan alias Hamza son of Jallaludin of Handoora Tral and Sheeraz Ahmad Dar son of Ghulam Hassan of Ovrigund Tral were also killed in the three-hour gunfight. Police said the slain militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Abdul Ghani Mir told Greater Kashmir that acting on specific input, Police, 42 RR & 185 CRPF cordoned Handoora on Tuesday afternoon.

“Militants hiding in the village fired upon the joint party in which the CO of 42 RR Col Munindra Nath Rai, HC Sanjeev Singh and two more soldiers of RR were injured,” he said, adding, “Rai and Sanjeev succumb to their injuries at the Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.”

Mir said in retaliatory action, two militants Abid Khan and Sheeraz Ahmad Dar were also killed.

A police official said the gunfight started at around 2 pm and lasted for over three hours. “The militants tried to flee from the village and opened indiscriminate fire on the Army party whose CO was supervising the operation,” he said, adding, “The CO and the police constable were hit in the head. The militants broke the cordon but the joint party chased them and they were killed.”

Col Rai was among the gallantry medal awardees announced on the eve of R-Day. He was awarded Yudh Seva medal for his role in a gunbattle with militants in south Kashmir last year

The official said Abid had arrived at Handoora to meet his family members and inquire about his ailing brother.

“Abid was one of the Commanders of HM and was active in south Kashmir from September 2012. He was instrumental in motivating the youth to join militant ranks,” the official claimed, adding, “Sheeraz had recently joined the HM after he decamped with a Rifle of an SOG man from Awantipora camp.”

Abid’s father is Assistant Sub-Inspector of police while Sheraz was a Special Police Official in J&K. He was earlier a baker.

Police claimed Abid was “involved” in killing of four Army soldiers of 3 RR at Buchoo in Tral on June 19, 2014.

As the news of militants’ killed spread in the area, scores of people staged protests. Meanwhile, Governor NN Vohra expressed grief over the loss of Colonel M N Rai of 42 RR and Head Constable Sanjeev Singh of SOG in the Tral encounter. 

The Governor conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved and prayed for peace to the departed souls.

A Srinagar-based army spokesman said Col MN Rai was a brave officer and had been involved in intense operations in South Kashmir for last two years.

“The Northern Army Commander paid rich tribute to the brave soldiers for the valour and courage displayed by them in the line of duty,” he said in a statement.