J&K: Three security personnel and a police officer killed in Anantnag encounter

Gunfight in Kashmir's Kokorenag claims lives of a colonel, a major and a Dy SP, besides one soldier still missing. The Resistance Front (TRF) has claimed responsibility

Representative image of defence personnel in Jammu & Kashmir (photo: DW)
Representative image of defence personnel in Jammu & Kashmir (photo: DW)
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PTI

Three defence personnel, including a colonel commanding a battalion and a major, as well as a deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed in a gunfight in the higher reaches of the Kokorenag area in the valley. One soldier has also gone missing, officials said on Wednesday, 14 September.

Colonel Manpreet Singh, commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Ashish Dhonack and Deputy Superintendent Humayun Bhat were critically injured in the gunfight that ensued in the Garol area of Anantnag district in the morning hours of Wednesday, 13 September.

The officers succumbed to their injuries during treatment, officials said, adding a jawan had also died. The whereabouts of another soldier was not immediately known and it is feared he might have been seriously wounded.

DGP Dilbag Singh announced the loss of the braveheart officers of both the police and the army. In a message, he said every loss of life is unfortunate and asserted that the perpetrators of the crime would be brought to justice soon.

He extended his sympathies to the bereaved families.

Bhat, father of a two-month-old daughter and the son of retired inspector general of Jammu and Kashmir Police Ghulam Hasan Bhat, died due to heavy blood loss, officials said.

The Resistance Front (TRF), a banned outfit believed to be a shadow group of the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Officials believe that it is the same outfit that had carried out the attack on army personnel on 4 August, killing three jawans in the higher reaches of the Halan forest area of Kulgam district.

The operation against the assailants began on Tuesday evening in the Garol area, but was called off during the night. In the morning, the hunt resumed after information started trickling in that they were spotted at a hideout, the officials said.

Colonel Singh, leading his team from the front, attacked the hideout. However, he was critically injured by returned gunfire.


Singh, who belonged to 12th Sikh LI, was a recipient of the Sena medal. Dhonack belonged to 15th Sikh LI.

Dhonack and Bhat were also hit by bullets, resulting in critical injuries, the officials said.

Senior army and police officers, including GoC XV Corps lieutenant general Rajiv Ghai and DGP Dilbag Singh rushed to the spot to assess the situation.

Earlier Jammu and Kashmir Police had posted on its social media handle that an "encounter has started in #Kokernag area of #Anantnag. Officers from Army and JKP injured. Details shall follow".

Kashmir-based XV Corps also shared that "based on specific intelligence on presence of terrorists a Joint Operation was launched by #IndianArmy & @JmuKmrPolice on the intervening night of 12-13 Sep in Area Garol, Anantnag. Contact established and firefight ensued. Two Army personnel and one J&K Police personnel injured. Operation in progress."


In the evening, director general of police Dilbag Singh, additional director general of police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar and various senior officers paid floral tributes to the slain DySP.

The attack comes a day after an Army personnel and Kent, a six-year-old female Labrador of the Army's dog unit, were killed and three security personnel injured in a gunfight in South of Pir Panjal at Rajouri in Jammu region. Two on the other side were killed in the encounter in remote Narla village.

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah offered his condolences.

"Terrible terrible news from J&K. An army colonel, a major and a J&K Police DYSP gave the ultimate sacrifice in an encounter in Kokernag area of South Kashmir today. DySP Humayan Bhat, Major Ashish Dhonack, and Colonel Manpreet Singh laid down their lives in an encounter with terrorists. May their souls rest in peace & may their loved ones find strength at this difficult time," he posted on X.


PDP president Mehbooba Mufti while offering condolences to the bereaved families said there was no place for such acts of violence.

People's Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone also condoled the death of the bravehearts. Paying tributes to the three fallen officers, BJP leader Altaf Thakur said the security forces are committed to rooting out terror from Jammu and Kashmir.

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Published: 14 Sep 2023, 10:15 AM
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