An Army major and a rifleman were killed on Tuesday in a five-minute exchange of fire with a militant in Kashmir, in the midst of darkness and a heavy downpour.
The incident took place on mountainous and forested terrain in the village of Chittibandi, Bandipora, 60 km north of Srinagar. No weapon was recovered from the site of the operation.
Acting on a tip-off, at around 8 pm, the Army and the police’s special operations group threw a cordon around the house in which the militant was hiding.
“It was dark and raining. The hiding militant lobbed a grenade and started firing at the security forces,” Additional Superintendent of Police (Bandipora) Shamsher Hussain told HT. Hussain said, “We believe only one militant was in the house. He escaped.”
In the first volley of fire, the militant struck Major Yogendra Rajbar and rifleman Uttam Singh. Both succumbed to injuries at a military hospital.
A senior police officer said militants of late had adopted a new approach to combat the forces. “When militants sense they have been zeroed in, they use full fire power first.”
“Rajbar had been operating in the place for nearly two years, and during the period he maintained peace in the area,” Defence spokesperson Lt. Col. J.S. Brar said. Rajbar, a resident of Dehradun, is survived by his mother, a sister and a brother. Singh has left behind his wife and a two-year-old daughter.