Indian colonel, major among seven killed in Held Kashmir gunbattle
Seven people including two senior Indian army officers, two junior ranks, an officer of the local police and two gunmen were killed in a fierce gunbattle on Sunday in Occupied Kashmir's Kupwara district.
Srinagar-based Indian Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia confirmed the killing of the five security personnel with their ranks without giving out their names.
According to the Indian media, an army colonel commanding a Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalion in the Rajwar area of Handwara tehsil, a major, commanding a company of the same RR battalion, a lance naik and a rifleman in addition to an officer of the local police were killed in the 20-hour long gunfight between holed up attackers and the Indian security forces in the Chanjimulla village of Handwara tehsil.
Two gunmen have also been killed in this encounter whose exact identity is being established.
Although firing has stopped at the encounter site, but searches are going on there. Para commandos of the Indian army and other security personnel had started the final assault against the attackers with the first light Sunday morning. The para commandos started room intervention to segregate the security personnel and the holed up gunmen inside a house.
The Commanding Officer of the 21 RR (Colonel), a major, two soldiers deployed as personal guards of the commanding officer in addition to a police sub-inspector and his guard, a constable, had entered the house. After the security personnel entered the house they lost radio contact with the surrounding security men triggering concern about their safety.
Senior Indian army officers and the state police had reached the encounter site Saturday evening to supervise the operation and the final assault against the holed up gunmen.
The lone surviving security man among those who entered the house is the security guard of the sub-inspector. An official confirmation from Indian army's Udhampur headquartered northern command and the police headquarters is still awaited.
This operation was initially launched jointly by the RR and the SOG of local police after reports that two to three attackers were hiding in the Rajwar's densely forested area in the Handwara tehsil.