Srinagar: A commanding officer and a policeman were on Tuesday killed while battling a group of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Notably, Colonel Munindra Nath Rai, the commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), was awarded a Yudh Seva Medal on Monday, the Army said in a statement in New Delhi.
Two militants, both locals, were also killed in the operation at Mindora village of Tral, 36 km from here.
A soldier was seriously injured in the gunbattle.
Colonel Rai was conferred the Yudh Seva medal for outstanding contribution in planning and conduct of operations including a gun battle with militants in south Kashmir last year.
Hailing from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, Colonel Rai, who belongs to the 9 Gorkha Rifles but was on deputation to RR, is survived by two daughters and a son.
— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) January 27, 2015
The encounter broke out today when the police assisted by Rashtriya Rifles of the Army launched an operation after getting a tip-off that a local Hizbul militant along with another accomplice had come home.
According to Army officials, Colonel Rai was commanding his battalion in intense counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir.
On receipt of specific information about the presence of two guerrillas in Tral, he swiftly planned and executed an operation to eliminate them. The two included the 'district commander' of Hizbul Mujahideen, the Army said.
"Leading from the front, Colonel MN Rai displayed extreme courage and leadership so as to ensure the elimination of the terrorists but unfortunately made the supreme sacrifice while doing so," the statement said.
"In the same operation, one head constable of Jammu and Kashmir Police also died," the statement said, adding that a soldier was injured and was in a critical state.
When the militants were surrounded and challenged to lay down their weapons, they fired at the security personnel that resulted in injuries to Colonel Rai, the commanding officer of the Rashtriya Rifles battalion, and a head constable of police, he said.
The injured men were evacuated and taken to a hospital, where Colonel Rai succumbed to his injuries, hospital officials said.
The security forces continued to retaliate the militants' fire, that led to the death of two militants -- identified as Adil Khan, a local resident of Mindora, and Shiraz Dar. Both were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, police said.
Some arms and ammunition have recovered from the scene of the encounter, they said.
(With Agency inputs)