Major, 4 Army jawans, cop martyred; Brig, DIG among 9 injured

Smoke billows out from the hideout of militants at Pinglana, Pulwama on Monday. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Smoke billows out from the hideout of militants at Pinglana, Pulwama on Monday. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Mastermind of CRPF attack among 3 militants, civilian killed
Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu, Feb 18: Three militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) including operational commander who is one of the masterminds of last week’s attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy and a civilian were killed and five security forces personnel including a Major were martyred and 9 others including Army Brigadier, Harbeer Singh, and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, South Kashmir Amit Kumar were injured in Pinglana village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district today.
The gun battle broke out this morning after a joint team of Army’s 55 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation following a credible input about the presence of two to three militants of JeM including top commanders hiding in the area.
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In the initial stage of the gunfight, an officer of Major rank and three soldiers were martyred besides a civilian, Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, 46, was killed while three soldiers were injured. The martyred soldiers were identified as Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, Havildar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Hari Singh and Sepoy Ajay Kumar.
There was a lull and the joint team of security forces moved to retrieve bodies of two militants, visible from a distance. The militants rose from the rubble of a house razed during the gunfight and opened fire, leading to injuries to a Lieutenant Colonel and two more soldiers who were evacuated to the army hospital where three Army personnel, injured in the initial phase of the firefight, were shifted.
Two militants were killed in the assault and their bodies were later retrieved. Later, DIG South Kashmir Amit Kumar and Army Brigadier along with three other soldiers, among them a Captain and Major, besides a police head constable Abdul Rashid were injured in the subsequent gunfight before the lone militant was neutralized.
The head constable succumbed to injuries at the Army Base Hospital in Badamibagh Cantonment. The killed militants were identified as Kamran, the operational commander of JeM and his associate Rashid Bhai alias Omar Gazi besides one local militant Hilal Ahmad Naikoo son of Ghulam Mohammad Naikoo of Pinglena Pulwama. Hilal’s body has been handed over to family.
DIG Amit Kumar suffered an injury in the leg. The Brigadier suffered an injury in the ankle and both of them are stable.
Massive clashes were held near the gunfight site and several of them were injured in security forces action even as the internet remained suspended. Two houses belonging to Mohammad Abdullah Hajam and Abdul Gani Hajam were completely damaged along with as many cowsheds. A cow was also killed while one more was injured. Several other adjacent houses were also damaged.
Meanwhile, Army today paid befitting tribute to four of its comrades, who made the supreme sacrifice during a counter terrorist operation. “In a solemn ceremony at BB Cantt, Lt Gen KJS Dhillon, Chinar Corps Commander and all ranks, paid homage to the all four martyrs on behalf of a proud nation. Representatives from other security agencies also joined in paying their last respects to the martyrs”, the statement issued by the Army said here.
“Late Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, Havildar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Hari Singh and Sepoy Ajay Kumar sustained bullet injuries during the fierce operation in village Pinglana of Pulwama district. They were provided immediate first aid and evacuated to 92 Base Hospital but, unfortunately succumbed to their injuries”, the statement said.
Late Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, 33, had joined Army in 2011 and hailed from village Dangwal in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. He is survived by his wife.
Late Havildar Sheo Ram, 36 years of age, had joined Army in 2000 and hailed from Jhunjhunu ,Rajasthan. He is survived by his wife and a son.
Coming from village Rajgarh of Distt Rewari, Haryana, Late Sepoy Hari Singh, 26, had joined Army in 2011. He is survived by his wife and a son.
Late Sepoy Ajay Kumar hailed from Village Bastikri in Meerut, UP. The soldier was 27 years of age and had joined Army in 2012. He is survived by his wife and a son.
The mortal remains of the martyrs were flown for the last rites to their native places, where they would be laid to rest with full military honours. In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved families of the martyrs and remains committed to their dignity and well being, the statement said.
And police today paid respect at a wreath laying ceremony which was held at District Police Lines, Srinagar to martyr Head Constable Abdul Rashid resident of Tanghdar District Kupwara, who attained martyrdom.
Civil and Police Officers led by Advisor to Governor K. Vijay Kumar, DGP J&K Police Dilbag Singh IGP operations CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, IGP Kashmir S P Pani and DC Srinagar Abid Rashid Shah laid floral wreaths on the mortal remains and paid rich tributes to the martyr for the supreme sacrifice made in the line of duty.
Among others who paid floral tributes to the martyr include senior officers of CAPF, SSP Srinagar Haseeb Mughal, SSP Security Imtiyaz Hussain, other officers and jawans of the district police and other forces.
Martyr Abdul Rashid’s family is survived by wife, two minor daughters Hafsa Rashid aged 6 years, Mehrooz Rashid aged 10 months and an unemployed brother.