SRINAGAR: Four security forces men including a rifleman from Telangana were killed and two others suffered injuries in a fierce encounter with heavily armed infiltrators on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Machil sector of Kupwara district on Sunday. Three militants were also gunned down in the gunfight.
The slain army soldiers have been identified as 24-year-old Captain Ashutosh Kumar, Havildar Ch Praveen Kumar, and Rifleman Ryada Maheshwar, all from 18 Madras regiment. One BSF soldier was also killed. He has been identified as Constable Sudip Kumar of West Tripura.
Rifleman Ryada Maheshwar, 26 hailed from Komanpally village of Velpur Mandal in Nizamabad district of Telangana. A son of a farmer, he had joined the army some five years ago.
He is the second soldier from Telangana who laid down life for the country since June this year. On June 16, Colonel B Santosh Babu, commanding officer of 16 Bihar Unit was killed during a violent face-off with Chinese troops on the Line of Actual Control at Galwan valley in Ladakh.
Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar said at 1 am on Sunday, BSF patrol noticed suspicious movement near the Anti Infiltration Obstacle System (AIOS) about 3.5 KM from the LoC.
"Firefight ensued in which one terrorist was killed. A BSF soldier was killed in action (KIA). The firefight stopped at 4 am. More troops were rushed to the area. Terrorists' movement was tracked by surveillance devices. Contact was re-established at 10.20 am when a heavy fire was drawn by own search parties approximately 1.5 km from the LoC. In the ensuing firefight, two more terrorists were killed. Own troops suffered three fatalities and two were injured. Injured soldiers have been evacuated," he said.
A BSF spokesperson said militants opened fire when they were challenged by alert border guards. "It was fittingly responded by the BSF party. In the fierce exchange of fire, one terrorist was shot dead immediately and others managed to hide behind the cover of undulating terrain," he said.
Indian army has paid rich tributes to the slain soldiers. "Lt Gen YK Joshi, Commander Northern Command, and all ranks salute the supreme sacrifice of Capt Ashutosh Kumar, Hav CH Praveen Kumar and Sep Ryada Maheshwar; offer deepest condolences to the families," tweeted Army's Northern Command headquarters.
A huge quantity of arms and ammunition including, 2 AK with 2 Magazines and 60 rounds, Pistol 1 with 2 magazines, and 29 rounds besides a radio set were recovered from the slain militants. Sources said Rs 50,000 Indian currency was also recovered along with administrative stores from the slain.