In J&K, soldier, army dog killed in anti-terror op

By, Jammu/new delhi
Sep 12, 2023 11:45 PM IST

Three others, including a special police officer, were injured in the firing in the district’s Narla area

An army jawan and an army dog were killed, and a terrorist was gunned down in a firefight during a search operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Tuesday evening, a senior police officer said.

Kent (HT Photo)
Kent (HT Photo)

Three others, including a special police officer, were injured in the firing in the district’s Narla area, the official added.

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“One terrorist neutralised, one army jawan lost his life, three others including one police SPO injured in the ensuing encounter in Rajouri district,” Jammu zone additional director general of police Mukesh Singh said.

Army officials said Kent, a six-year-old Indian Army dog, was killed in the crossfire while she was shielding her handler.

“Army dog Kent, a six-year-old female labrador of the 21 Army Dog Unit, laid down her life while shielding her handler during the operation. Kent was leading a column of soldiers on the trail of fleeing terrorists. The dog came down under heavy hostile fire,” defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Suneel Bartwal said.

A joint team comprising personnel from the army and police’s Special Operations Group launched the search-and-cordon operation in Narla following inputs about suspicious movement, the officials said.

The terrorists opened fire at the search team after which the security personnel retaliated with automatic fire, they said.

Kent is now a part of a growing list of the army’s four-legged warriors who have sacrificed their lives fighting alongside infantry soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir and India’s North-east where the army carries out hundreds of anti-terror operations every day.

Many have earned laurels for their loyalty and bravery.

Last October, an army assault dog, Zoom, fought honourably and took bullets during a fierce encounter with terrorists in Kashmir. The army hailed the two-year-old as a hero and commended his service to the country.

Zoom was later mentioned in dispatches - the highest honour a four-legged warrior can get in military service in India.

Kent’s bravery is likely to be acknowledged too.

Another canine hero, Axel, was killed in a counter-terror operation last year and was later mentioned in dispatches.

Army dogs have been regularly recognised for their valour and devotion to duty with commendation cards awarded by the army chief and army commanders. The canines have tracked down hardcore terrorists, sniffed out deadly explosives, helped in search and rescue, and saved scores of lives.

Bajaj, also an army dog, was among the 408 soldiers honoured with the army chief’s commendation card for their service on Independence Day, 2022. Army dogs are trained for a variety of roles such as detecting mines and explosives, tracking, assault, infantry patrol, and search and rescue.

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