New Delhi (Sputnik): Terrorist activities have been increasing in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for the last one month. Police data suggests that at least 17 terror incidents took place in April alone, in which 29 terrorists were killed while 11 security personnel also lost their lives.
Five Indian Army personnel including a commanding officer were killed in an overnight counter-terror operation in Handwara in the Kupwara district of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. In the operation, two terrorists were also shot dead by security personnel. The encounter began after a team of five, including two officers from the 21 Rashtriya Rifles, two soldiers, and a Jammu and Kashmir police entered a house to evacuate the civilians on Saturday afternoon.
Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Commanding Officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit, who lost his life in the encounter had been part of several successful counter-terrorist operations in the past and had been decorated for gallantry.
The encounter began on Saturday afternoon after intelligence was received by Army and Jammu and Kashmir police about the presence of terrorists in the forests of Rajwar. The terrorists emerged and hid inside a house. However, the civilians residing in the house were safely evacuated.
This is the second time in a month when army personnel have been trapped in Kashmir. Earlier, on 5 April, five special forces personnel were killed in Kashmir after which cross border firing between India and Pakistan intensified.
The development took place on a day when the Indian armed forces are planning to celebrate the ‘war’ against COVID-19 by placing flowers at hospitals throughout the country.
Already-tense relations between India and Pakistan began to deteriorate even further due the February 2019 dogfight but hit a new low in August, when Jammu and Kashmir, lost its quasi-independence and statehood and was divided into two union territories. The two South Asian rival nations have fought three wars over Kashmir since 1947, when they became independent from the UK.