The country has lost five brave soldiers in the ongoing Pampore encounter in Kashmir. The army is involved in operations to flush out militants, who are holed up in a government building on the outskirts of Srinagar, since Saturday. So far, seven people, including two captains and a soldier of Para 9, two paramilitary troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force, a civilian, and a militant, have been killed.
As many as 100 students and staff of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute were evacuated from the building by the security forces. The militants have been hiding in the building since Saturday afternoon, after they attacked a CRPF convoy, killing two jawans and a civilian.
Captain Pawan Kumar, 23, who belonged to the 10 Parachute Regiment, was killed in the firing, when he was leading his men into the building.
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General Satish Dua, the General Officer Commanding of the Army’s Srinagar based 15 Corps, told NDTV, “Captain Pawan Kumar of 10 Paras attained martyrdom leading his men from the front in a tricky deliberate operation at EDI government building, with the possibility of some more civilians trapped not ruled out.”
Pawan is a Jat from Haryana and has a degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Though both these communities have been staging agitations (the Jat community over reservation and JNU over debates on anti-nationalism) for the last few weeks, politics was the last thing on his mind.
According to news reports, his last Facebook post, he said, “Kisiko reservation chahiye to kisiki ko azadi bhai. Humein kutch nahin chahiye bhai, bas apni razai.” (Some want reservation and some want independence. I do not want anything, except my blanket.)
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According to The Hindu, his father, Rajbir Singh said, “I had one child, I gave him to the Army, to the nation. No father can be prouder.”
The army also lost Captain Tushar Mahajan and Jawan Om Prakash, of the elite Para commando units, in the firing on Sunday.
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Tushar, 26, belonged to Udhampur in Jammu. He was was hit by bullets during operations on the third floor of the building.
Lance Naik Om Prakash of Shimla had served in the army for 13 years.
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He was awarded the ‘Asadharan Suraksha Seva Praman Patra’ by the Prime Minister in 2013.
The army says the operation is in its final stage now.
We salute these brave hearts who sacrificed their lives for us.