Pulwama : A day after winning a gallantry award, an officer of the Indian Army died battling a group of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Colonel Munindra Nath Rai, the commanding officer of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles, an infantry regiment, had received the Yudh Seva Medal on Monday for outstanding contribution in operations against terrorists in south Kashmir last year. Colonel Rai, 39, is the highest-ranking military officer to be killed in fighting in the region in nearly a year.
In the morning, Rai had received intelligence inputs that terrorists were hiding in the Handoora forest area; he rushed to the spot with a quick reaction team of eight to 12 men. A local SOG (Special Operations Group) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police also accompanied them.
When the team reached the suspect house and cordoned it off, the residents, suspected to be relatives of the terrorists, requested them not to carry ut a full-scale operation, as that would entail sequestering the entire village. As the Colonel was working out the details with the residents, two terrorists rushed out firing blindly. Col Rai was hit in the temple and fatally wounded; he later succumb-ed to his injuries in the hospital; the SoG personnel was also killed.