Three Army personnel including a Colonel, a Major, and a Deputy Superintendent of Police were killed in an encounter at Kokernag in South Kashmir on Wednesday evening.
This is the second such major attack in South Kashmir in the past two months. Earlier on August 4, three soldiers lost their lives in the Halan forest area of Kulgam district.
The deceased were identified as Colonel Manpreet Singh, the Commanding Officer of 19 Rashtriya Rifles; Major Ashish Dhonack; and Deputy Superintendent Humayun Bhat.
DySP Bhat, son of a retired Deputy Inspector General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, lost his life due to heavy blood loss, leaving behind a two-month-old daughter.
The banned Resistance Front, believed to have links to the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba, has claimed responsibility for this attack. Officials suspect that the same group of terrorists was responsible for a similar attack on army personnel on August 4,in Kulgam.
The operation against the terrorists began on Tuesday evening but was temporarily halted during the night. Early in the morning, the hunt for the terrorists resumed after receiving information that they were spotted at a hideout.
Colonel Singh, leading his team, confronted the terrorists but was critically injured in the exchange of gunfire. Major Dhonack and Deputy Superintendent Bhat were also struck by bullets, sustaining critical injuries.
The attack comes shortly after another incident in which an Army personnel and a military dog were killed in a gunfight in the Jammu region, highlighting the ongoing security challenges in the region.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed his condolences, while PDP President Mehbooba Mufti condemned the violence, emphasizing the need for peace. People’s Conference Chairman Sajad Gani Lone and BJP leader Altaf Thakur also offered their condolences.