Pulwama encounter: Ajay Kumar was first to enter house where militants were holed up, says colleague

Ajay Kumar, one of the four security personnel killed in an encounter in Pulwama on Monday, was acting as the first guide for the team and was tasked to show them the way, said his colleague subedar major Adesh Kumar of Rashtriya Rifles.
Thousands pay tribute to army jawan Ajay Kumar whose body was brought to his village in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh,on Feb 19, 2019. Kumar was killed in an encounter in Pulwama on Feb 18.(Sakib Ali / HT Photo)
Thousands pay tribute to army jawan Ajay Kumar whose body was brought to his village in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh,on Feb 19, 2019. Kumar was killed in an encounter in Pulwama on Feb 18.(Sakib Ali / HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 20, 2019 01:27 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad | ByPeeyush Khandelwal

Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal and Ajay Kumar were the first from the 55 Rashtriya Rifles unit to enter the house in Kashmir’s Pinglena village where suspected militants were holed up on the night of February 17.

Ajay Kumar’s fellow personnel said he was acting as the first guide for the team and was tasked to show them the way.

“Ajay was with major Dhoundiyal and they were the first two men to enter the house after we received inputs that suspected militants were hiding there. Ajay was the guide of the team and we started the search around 11pm on February 17,” Rashtriya Rifles’ subedar major Adesh Kumar, who arrived in Ghaziabad for Ajay’s last rites on Tuesday, said.

“He was made the team guide as his behaviour within the unit as well as with the civilian population was very cordial. He was very good in handling weapons and was a great team member,” he said.

The men from Ajay’s unit said that he was earlier posted with 20 Grenadiers in Nagaland and was on deputation to the 55 Rashtriya Rifles — his deputation term was about to end when the Pulwama encounter claimed his life.

“When the two men entered the house, they were greeted with gunfire from the militants holed up inside and the two men fired in retaliation. It was in this initial gunfire that Ajay and the major were injured. After that, two more of our men went inside and sustained injuries in the indiscriminate firing by the militants,” one of Ajay’s colleagues said.

A Kashmir Police constable was also killed in the encounter.

The 18-hour operation ended as army reinforcements arrived to the aid of the team and later gunned down three suspected militants, including a top commander of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit.

Ajay’s body was brought to his house in Basatikri village on Tuesday morning where senior Indian army officers and his colleagues took part in the last rites.

“I am proud of my son who laid down his life in service of the motherland. I was the first one in the family to join the army and Ajay was the next. His son Aarav is just two years old but, who knows, may be he, too, also join the army,” Vir Pal, Ajay’s father, said.

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Friday, December 03, 2021