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Anantnag Operation : Heroes Remembered
In the remote and rugged terrain of Garol forests in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, a joint operation unfolded, igniting a deadly encounter between security forces and terrorists. Tragically, this operation resulted in the loss of two valiant Indian Army officers and a dedicated police officer. Among the fallen heroes were Colonel Manpreet Singh, commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, Major Ashish Dhonchack, also from the 19 RR, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Humayun Muzamil Bhat, who had recently taken up his post in this challenging region.
This heartbreaking incident stands as one of the most devastating attacks on security forces in the region this year. Despite a notable reduction in the number of attacks and encounters in recent months, it serves as a stark reminder of the persistent threat faced by those defending the nation.
The Joint Operation: Unfolding Tragedy
On the fateful night of September 12-13, a joint operation was set into motion by the Rashtriya Rifles and the local police based on specific intelligence. Their mission: to neutralize a group of terrorists hiding in the Garol area of Anantnag district, a region known for its dense and challenging terrain.
The Indian Armed force gave an authority explanation by means of web-based entertainment, expressing, “In light of explicit knowledge on the presence of psychological militants, a Joint Activity was sent off by #IndianArmy and JmuKmrPolice on the mediating evening of 12-13 Sep in Region Garol, Anantnag. Contact was established, and a firefight ensued, resulting in injuries to two Army personnel and one J&K Police personnel. The operation is ongoing.”
A Possible Ambush and Highly Trained Terrorists
As details of the encounter emerged, there were suspicions that the operation might have turned into an ambush. Reports began circulating, suggesting the involvement of three to four highly trained terrorists in the attack. In the dense cover of Garol forests, the joint teams found themselves under heavy fire from the well-prepared terrorists. The outcome was tragic, with injuries sustained by both officers and soldiers who had valiantly approached the militant hideout after midnight.
The Response: Reinforcements and Forest Cordoned Off
In the face of adversity, the security forces wasted no time in responding. Following the injuries to the three officers, additional reinforcements were rapidly deployed to the area. Garol, nestled in the upper forest belt of Kokernag in Anantnag district, was quickly sealed off as a forest village at night became a battleground. An officer familiar with the situation remarked, “It’s a village in the dense forests, and militants had been in the village when the tipoff was received about their presence last night. The operation is still ongoing.”
A Grim Reminder: Similar Tragedy in Halan Forests
Tragically, this wasn’t the first time that such a devastating incident had struck the region. Just a few months earlier, in May of the same year, three soldiers had lost their lives in a similar attack in Halan forests in Kulgam district. The operation was launched in response to specific intelligence about the presence of terrorists in the higher reaches of Halan forests in Kulgam. Regrettably, the terrorists, believed to be foreigners, managed to evade capture and remained at large.
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Leaders Rush to the Scene
Upon receiving news of the injuries sustained by the three senior officers during the operation, top officials swiftly moved into action. Jammu and Kashmir Chief General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh, General Official Ordering of 15 Corps Lt. General Rajiv Ghai, and Extra Chief General of Police Vijay Kumar raced to the experience site. Their presence underlines the gravity of the situation and their commitment to supporting the brave men and women on the front lines.
The End of a Brave Journey
Despite their valiant efforts and the best medical care available, the three officers—Colonel Manpreet Singh, Major Ashish Dhonchack, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Humayun Muzamil Bhat—succumbed to their injuries. Their sacrifice serves as a somber reminder of the immense courage and dedication exhibited by the men and women who safeguard our nation’s security.
The Claim of Responsibility
In the midst of this tragedy, the Falcon squad of The Resistance Front (TRF) stepped forward, claiming responsibility for the attack in a statement on social media. They asserted that the attack was carried out in retaliation for the killing of Mohammad Riyaz from Poonch, who had reportedly been killed in Rawalakote in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Honoring the Fallen Heroes
As the nation mourns the loss of these courageous officers, their sacrifice remains etched in our hearts and minds. They stood steadfast in the face of danger, committed to preserving peace and security in one of the most challenging regions of our country. In Garol forests, amidst the echoes of gunfire, heroes emerged and paid the ultimate price for our safety and freedom. Their memory will forever inspire and remind us of the unwavering spirit of those who serve and protect our great nation.
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