An army officer who was awarded a gallantry medal this Republic Day, a policeman and two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in a fierce gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday.
Colonel Munindra Nath Rai, commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, died in hospital after being hit by bullets at a village in Tral, 36 km from Srinagar.
A policeman accompanying a search party was killed, too, as militants hiding in a house suddenly fired at them.
Col Rai was among the gallantry medal awardees announced on the eve of Republic Day.
He was awarded Yudh Seva medal for his role in a gunbattle with militants in south Kashmir last year, an army spokesman said. Originally from the Gorkha Rifles, he was on “deputation”.
The gunfight began when personnel of the 42 Rashtriya Rifles, police and the CRPF launched a joint operation following information that a local Hizbul militant along with an accomplice had come home.
The militants started firing when the forces surrounded them, cutting down Col Rai and a police head constable.
The forces cornered the militants after a while and gunned down Firdous Ahmed and Shiraz Ahmad, who were local recruits of the Hizbul, a police officer said.
Arms and ammunition were recovered from the scene.