Handwara Encounter details: Terrorists used civilians as shields, used their places to hide

On May 1 when the primary touch was made nearly at 3 pm in the forest area of Rajwara in Jammu Kashmir’s Kupwara near Handwara army forces came on the trail of a group of terrorists.

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This was the alike group that took shelter in a house in Changimulla, Handwara where five security personnel together with Indian army colonel who was leading the unit part of the operation were killed.

In an encounter, four army officers and one from Jammu and Kashmir police were martyred as well as two terrorists were executed.
After being cornered the terrorists managed to flee, as they used 11 civilians as human shields five women and children.

According to sources, “One terrorist was injured in the brief gun battle but the group of 3-4 terrorists managed to flee”.
Sources stated that as civilians were being used as a defend the operation had to be ceased.

The terrorists were found hidden in a home taking civilians pawn in a house in Changimulla in Handwara of Kupwara district when the contemporary intelligence came on their movement.
As per sources, the primary information about a group of terrorists active in the forest areas was received on April 28.
An official said, “Searches were launched and contact was made on May 1″.

The next day, on May 2, another operation was launched zeroing in a house in Changimulla, Handwara based on new inputs.
Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a joint operation. To liberate the civilians, a team consisting of five Army and J&K Police personnel entered the target area occupied by the terrorists.

When the team entered the premises there was heavy firing from one corner of the house.
An official said, “Later it was found that the terrorists were hiding in a cowshed and firing from there. Two of them were killed but we lost five men”.
After the two terrorists were gunned down, at least two more terrorists were there in the house who fired from a different direction that resulted in the casualties.

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“The team of Army and J&K Police personnel entered the target area and successfully extricated the civilians. However, during the process, the team was subjected to a heavy volume of fire by the terrorists. In the ensuing firefight, two terrorists were eliminated and the team of five Army and J&K Police personnel comprising of two Army officers, two Army soldiers and one J&K Police Sub Inspector attained martyrdom,” a statement from the Army said.

Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Sena Medal Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rakesh Kumar, Lance Naik Dinesh Singh and Sub Inspector Shakeel Qazi were martyred in the operation.

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