Kin, villagers mourn deaths of army officers, cop in Anantnag encounter | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Kin, villagers mourn deaths of army officers, cop in Anantnag encounter

By, , Ashiq Hussain, Chandigarh/karnal/srinagar:
Sep 15, 2023 12:44 AM IST

A pall of gloom descended on villages in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab on Thursday as families and relatives mourned the killings of two decorated army officers and a Jammu and Kashmir police officer during an encounter with terrorists in Anantnag district a day earlier.

A pall of gloom descended on villages in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab on Thursday as families and relatives mourned the killings of two decorated army officers and a Jammu and Kashmir police officer during an encounter with terrorists in Anantnag district a day earlier.

J&K DSP Humayun Muzamil Bhat’s father and retired IGP, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, lays a wreath on his son’s coffin in Srinagar on Wednesday. (PTI)
J&K DSP Humayun Muzamil Bhat’s father and retired IGP, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, lays a wreath on his son’s coffin in Srinagar on Wednesday. (PTI)

In Punjab’s Mohali district, thousands of mourners gathered at Bharaunjian village to mourn the death of Colonel Manpreet Singh, who was the commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) that was part of the counter-insurgency operation in Anantnag when the gunbattle with the terrorists erupted on Wednesday.

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The Colonel’s mortal remains are expected to arrive in Chandigarh on Friday morning and the final rites are likely to take place in the afternoon.

Those who turned up at the army officer’s house to express grief with the family said the army should give a befitting reply to the terrorists.

“The defence and home ministers must avenge the loss of our soldiers. The forces must eliminate the terrorists,” the colonel’s uncle, Harmail Singh, said.

Villagers said Colonel Singh’s wife, a school teacher in Panchkula district, was given the news of her husband’s death on Thursday morning, after being told on Wednesday that he was seriously injured. He has also left behind a two-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son.

Hartej Singh, another uncle of the Colonel, said 18-20 members of their family had retired and two of them continue to serve the army.

Similar scenes were witnessed in Binjhol village in Panipat as local residents waited for the mortal remains of Major Aashish Dhonchak, also from the 19 RR battalion.

“I have lost everything. This proxy war (with Pakistan) has ruined our world. Now, I look towards the almighty to give us the strength to move on,” Dhonchak’s father Lal Chand said.

His family said they were living in a rented accommodation and were set to move to a new house, in Panipat, on his birthday on October 23.

Dhonchak’s mother, Kamla, said she will receive her son’s mortal remains “with a brave heart as he had made a supreme sacrifice for the country”. The Major is survived by his wife and a four-year-old daughter.

“Everyone knows that Pakistan has waged a proxy war. Our Army should give a befitting reply once and for all, so that no mother has to mourn the loss of her son, no sister loses her brother again in this manner, no wife loses her husband and no child loses its father,” an elderly man who lives in Dhonchak’s neighbourhood said.

Panipat deputy commissioner Virender Dahiya said mortal remains are expected to arrive on Friday morning.

The last rites of J&K deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Humayun Muzamil Bhat, who was recently posted in Anantnag and was also killed in Wednesday’s encounter, were performed on Wednesday evening.

Bhat’s father, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, a former inspector general of police, was held by a police officer as he showered flowers on his son’s coffin during the last rites at Srinagar district police lines.

J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha expressed his grief over the death of the three officers in the encounter and also paid tributes to the DSP.

“Paid tributes to JKP’s DySP Humayun Bhat, who laid down his life in an anti-terror operation in Anantnag. I salute the indomitable courage and supreme sacrifice of Col Manpreet Singh & Major Ashish Dhonack. Entire nation stands firmly with their families in this hour of grief,” his office posted on X, formerly Twitter.

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