February 2016 News

Two Officers Among 3 Commandos Of Army Killed In Pampore

21 February 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Pampore: Three elite commandos of Army including two officers were killed in a fierce gun battle with militants, hiding inside Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) building in Pampore area of Pulwama district in the outskirts of Srinagar since last evening. Reports said that last night Army's elite commandos attempted to storm the building before dawn, but the militants fired on them, leaving an Army captain Pawan Kumar crtically injured. Kumar, a resident of Jind in Haryana was shifted to 92 Base Hospital where he succumbed. Later in the day, one more elite commando and a Captain were injured when they tried to storm the building. They were removed to 92 Base Hospital of Army. Captain, Tushar Mahajan, 26, of Aadarsh Colony Udhampur and Lance Naik Om Prakash, 32, a resident of Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh, succumbed to injuries in the hospital. Army said: 'Regret to inform that another Army personnel succumbed to injures. 26 year old son of the soil, Captain Tushar Mahajan belonging to Udhampure is no more. Officer from 9-Para special forces was leading his men in the ongoing operation in Pampore when he sustained injury.' Throughout the day over 100 deafening explosions were heard from the building as Army and Police were targeting the militants. The Army's para commandos tried to clear the building of militants but there were no successes. They cleared ground and first floor of the building and in the afternoon the top floor of 5 storied EDI building caught fire as Army fired from machine guns, snipers and used Rocket Launchers to target the militants. Sources said that the operation in the evening was put on hold as troops want to re-launch the assault on the militants who are inside the building. The cordon around the building has been tightened so that the militants didn't manage to escape. The militants entered the EDI building last evening after they ambushed a bus carrying CRPF at Sempora in Pampore area of South Kashmir on the Highway at around 4.20 PM, leaving 11 personnel injured. The injured CRPF personnel were immediately rushed to hospital where two of them, Head Constable Bhula Singh of 144 Battalion and Constable RK Raina, succumbed. As over 100 employees were trapped in the building at the time of the attack, security forces rescued them but one, Abdul Gani Mir of Gundipora Pulwama, was killed in the cross fire. Srinagar based Defence spokesman said here this evening: 'For Captain Pawan Kumar of 10 Para SF and Lance Naik Om Prakash of 9 Para SF the final call came at Pampore and as it was ingrained in them, they did not think twice before going into a hail of bullets.' 'No wonder then, where the genes of this bravery, patriotism and selflessness came to Capt Pawan Kumar from after ambushing CRPF personnel some terrorists had yesterday taken refuge in the JKEDI Building in Pampore, South Kashmir thus jeopardizing the lives of over a hundred civilians', the spokesman said. The spokesman further said: 'After cautiously evacuating all civilians from the premises to safety, the officer led his team to deliberately clear the building in which the terrorists had been holed up. This initial operation was fraught with danger as the only way to ascertain the location of the terrorists was to close in and draw their fire. Keeping the Indian Army ethos aloft, Capt Pawan Kumar led his men from the front and indeed drew a fatal volley of fire, which the daring commando and his team quickly retaliated. He later succumbed to his grievous injuries but not before fixing the location of these terrorists thereby facilitating the progress of further operations.' 'Having been born on the Army Day on Jan 15, 1993, this 23 year old was destined to be a part of it and in the exemplary display of raw courage, leadership par excellence and esprit-de-corps, he has become a part of military folklore', the spokesman added. The spokesman said that the young commando was given a befitting farewell by his comrades in Arms in a solemn ceremony at BB Cantt in Srinagar which was also attended by officials from JKP, BSF and CRPF. 'Later in the day, during operations to flush out the terrorists, Lance Naik Om Prakash whose team had closed in on the hiding terrorists, was also injured and later succumbed. He had been earlier awarded with the 'Asadharan Suraksha Seva Praman Patra' by the Prime Minister of India on 15 August 2013 for gallantry in counter terrorist operations', the spokesman said. The spokesman said: 'The 32 years old Late Lance Naik Om Prakash, hailed from Shimla, Himachal Pradesh and is survived by his parents, wife and two daughters aged 7 and 3 years. His last rites will be held tomorrow.' GOC 15 Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua while paying tributes to the soldiers saluted their courage and selflessness and said that their cause will be taken to its logical conclusion. Speaking about Capt Pawan Kumar, the GOC said, 'He had voluntarily taken upon himself to lead his men into this most difficult phase of the operation. His commitment to his men, duty and the uniform he so proudly donned, can be guaged from the fact that despite having been wounded in an earlier encounter with terrorists only last month, he had refused to proceed on sick leave to be with his team for this operation. They have done the nation proud and the nation salutes them'. The Corps Commander also paid his tributes to the CRPF personnel and one EDI employee Abdul Gani Mir who lost their lives in the terror attack yesterday. He also wished quick recovery to the injured soldiers. Meanwhile, stone-pelting clashes continued between police and youths in Pampore town as the latter attempted to march towards the encounter spot. The clashes left several youths injured. A Scorpio vehicle carrying security forces was attacked near Pampore with stones by a group of youth. The glasses of vehicle got injured in the incident. However, the CRPF who were already deployed in the area opened pellet fire and tear gas shells, resulting in injuries to three youth. The injured have been identified as Aadil Ahmad Mir of Meigi Pampore, Owais Mushtaq of Kadlibal and Muteeb Manzoor Malik of Drangbal. Meanwhile, Governor, N N Vohra has expressed grief over the loss of 5 personnel of CRPF and Army including two young Army officers, and a civilian employee of EDI in the still continuing terror attack at Pampore. The Governor conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families of the martyr soldiers and the civilian and prayed for peace to the departed souls. He has prayed for speedy recovery of the injured soldiers. The Governor has been constantly monitoring the situation with the top security officials including the Northern Army Commander and DGP,' a handout said. Meanwhile, BJP leader and former Dy. Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh has also expressed grief over the loss of lives of five security personnel and a civilian in Pampore. Dr Singh lauded the courage displayed by the security personnel in fighting the militants.