Colonel killed in J&K encounter

Colonel killed in J&K encounter

Santosh Madhok was CO of 41-Rashtirya Rifles

Colonel killed in J&K  encounter

A commanding officer (CO) of the Army counter-insurgency force Rashtirya Rifles (RR) was killed in an encounter with militants along the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s frontier district of Kupwara on Tuesday.

A senior army official told Deccan Herald that two soldiers including CO of 41-RR Colonel Santosh Madhok, who was leading a search party, and a policeman, were critically injured when militants hiding in the dense forest area of Haji Naka, Kupwara, 120 km from here, opened fire. Colonel Madhok, who was from the elite regiment of para commandos, was shifted to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries, he added.

Sources said troops of 41 RR and para commandos had intercepted a group of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants on Monday evening. “The militants opened fire, triggering a brief encounter in Behak forest area. However, the group managed to escape, before they were again intercepted by the troops on Tuesday afternoon,” they said and adding that three to four militants hiding in the dense forest area are continuously firing on the search party. Fresh reinforcements have been sent to the area to track down the militants.

According to sources, the group managed to escape the troops on Friday evening before injuring two soldiers in Payerpati forest area in Manigah, Kupwara. “The group had infiltrated the Indian side on the intervening night of October 30-31, but were trapped in the forest area due to rain and snowfall,” they added. On November 10, the Army had recovered body of a militant, who is believed to have died due to severe cold and was part of the group.

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