Representational image
Representational image
Photo: ANI

On Sunday, five Indian army officers were killed after an encounter broke out in he Chanjmulla area of Handwara, which is part of north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

Two terrorists were also killed in the encounter.

According to the Inspector General of Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, top Lashkar-e Taiba commander, Haider from Pakistan, was killed in the Handwara encounter.

However, there does seem to be some confusion as to who exactly is responsible for the attack. According to an IANS report, even as the Lashkar-e-Taiba's (LeT) newly formed The Resistance Front (TRF) posted pictures of the two terrorists and took credit for the attack, banned terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen contended that it was responsible. Reportedly, one of the Hizbul terrorists made an audio call to his aide during the encounter with the Indian security forces in Handwara, claiming responsibility for the terror attack.

In the audio call, a clip of which had been accessed by IANS, one of the two terrorists informed a Hizbul member about the encounter in which he and his partner were trapped with injuries in Handwara.

The attack has left people across India shocked and grieving the loss of life. The eight hour-long gun battle in Handwara town of Kupwara district on Saturday has been condemned from various quarters, and speaking about the same on Sunday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called the loss of Indian soldiers "disturbing and painful".

"They showed exemplary courage in their fight against the terrorists and made supreme sacrifice while serving the country. We will never forget their bravery and sacrifice," he tweeted.

The slain officials include Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, the commanding officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit. He had been awarded gallantry medals twice for exemplary bravery in counter-terrorist missions.

Apart from that, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar and Lance Naik Dinesh Singh both soldiers of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) unit of India Army, and Sub-Inspector Shakeel Qazi of Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed while on duty.

(With inputs from agencies)

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