Srinagar | Jagran News Desk: A Colonel and a Major were among the five security personnel who were killed in an encounter at a village in north Kashmir's Handwara area, the officials said on Sunday. 

The officials further said that two terrorists were also killed in the encounter at the Chanjmulla area of Handwara, which is part of north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

The Army officers were leading a team to rescue civilians who had been taken hostage by the terrorists, the officials said.

"Four Indian Army personnel including the Commanding Officer, Major of 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit along with two soldiers and one Jammu and Kashmir Police jawan lost their lives in an encounter at Handwara in Jammu and Kashmir. Two terrorists were also killed in the encounter," Indian Army officials said, as reported by news agency ANI.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described as "deeply disturbing and painful" the killing of five security personnel in Kashmir and said that they showed exemplary courage in their fight against the terrorists and that their bravery and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

"The loss of our soldiers and security personnel in Handwara (J&K) is deeply disturbing and painful. They showed exemplary courage in their fight against the terrorists and made supreme sacrifice while serving the country. We will never forget their bravery and sacrifice," the defence minister tweeted.

Army officers Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj, and Jammu and Kashmir Police Sub-Inspector Shakeel Qazi were among the deceased, the Army officials said.

As per officials, the operation was led by Colonel Sharma, Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles. They were attacked by the terrorists when they entered the house to prevent a hostage situation.

As the hostages were being rescued, the team, which also consisted of a Lance Naik and a Rifleman, came under heavy fire which was effectively retaliated by the security personnel in the outer cordon, the officials said.

"Based on the intelligence input that terrorists were taking the civilian inmates of a house in Changimulla, Handwara of Kupwara district hostage, a joint operation was launched by Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police," Army officials said.

In the early hours of Sunday, a major offensive was launched by the security forces as there had been no contact with the Colonel or his team, the officials said.

(With agencies inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma