A day after he was martyred in a gunbattle in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, Army came out in full strength to pay tribute to slain Colonel Santosh Mahadik. His last rites will take place on Wednesday.
39-year-old Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was critically injured during the operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He was immediately evacuated to a hospital but he succumbed to injuries.
The Colonel and his troops had been undergoing a search operation for the terrorists in the last one week. A police constable was also injured in the firing and was undergoing treatment.
Santosh, who hailed from Maharashtra and was commissioned in the Army in 1998, was originally from the Special Forces. He had received Sena Medal for exhibiting gallantry and leadership in counter terrorist operations, Defence spokesman said.
The operation to track down terrorists was continuing when last reports were received. The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on November 13 to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information.
An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation.
After the initial contact on November 13, the terrorists fled deep into the forests and the security forces continued the chase them, leading to fresh contact today, the officials said.
Col Santosh leaves behind wife and two children, aged 11 and five years, the defence spokesman said, adding the Army is committed to providing all support to the family in this hour of grief.
The spokesman said the Colonel was a true soldier and had conducted many successful counter-terrorist operations. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command Lt Gen DS Hooda has expressed deep condolences on the loss of this brave Commanding Officer.
“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to officers like Santosh who lead from the front and are willing to pay the ultimate price in the fight against terrorism,” Lt Gen Hooda said.
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