New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed grief over the death of the five security personnel, who were killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Handwara and said that their "valour and sacrifice will never be forgotten".   

In a tweet, PM Modi said that the security personnel served the nation with utmost dedication and worked tirelessly to protect the citizens. 

"Tributes to our courageous soldiers and security personnel martyred in Handwara. Their valour and sacrifice will never be forgotten. They served the nation with utmost dedication and worked tirelessly to protect our citizens. Condolences to their families and friends," PM Modi tweeted.

At least five security personnel -- including Colonel, a Major and a Jammu and Kashmir cop -- were killed in encounter with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Handwara.

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also expressed grief over the incident, describing it as "deeply disturbing and painful". In a tweet, Rajnath said that the security personnel 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," he had tweeted.

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

The Army said the Colonel and his team bravely rescued civilians held hostage by the terrorists. The two terrorists were killed in the encounter.

Giving details, the Army said based on the intelligence input that terrorists were taking hostage some civilians in a house in Changimulla at Handwara of Kupwara district, a joint operation was launched by the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

A team comprising of five Army and police personnel entered the target area occupied by the terrorists to evacuate the civilians and successfully extricated them, it said.

However, during the process, the team came under a heavy volume of fire by the terrorists and in the ensuing firefight, two terrorists were eliminated and the five Army personnel and a policeman were killed in the line of duty, the Army said.

The terrorists are believed to have come to Handwara to receive an infiltrating group from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, officials said.

Besides Colonel Ashutosh Sharma and Major Anuj Sood, the other Army personnel killed in the encounter were identified as Naik Rajesh and Lance Naik Dinesh.

Col Sharma was the Commanding Officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles and had been decorated for gallantry twice in Kashmir.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma