In an unfortunate turn of events, four Army personnel, including the commanding officer of the Rashtriya Rifles' 21 Battalion, and a sub-inspector of police were killed in action in a terrorist operation in Jammu and Kashmir's Handwara. The encounter that took place under bad weather on Saturday, Indian Army's Decorated officer Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar and Lance Naik Dinesh from the 21 Rashtriya Rifles. Police officer Shakeel Ahmad Qazi also made the supreme sacrifice in the operation.
Colonel Ashutosh Sharma: A commanding officer who led from the front
Colonel Ashutosh Sharma who was also the commanding officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) led the raiding party as he had been leading his troops since the day joined the Army. He was decorated with Sena medal not once but twice. He maintained the highest tradition of the Indian Army of 'Service before self'. Notably, 21 RR has lost its commanding officer twice in the last 20 years. In August 2000, the then CO Col RS Chauhan and Sector Commander Brig BS Shergill died in a blast while travelling in a vehicle.
Col. Sharma leaves behind his wife, child and mother. His wife Pallavi Ashutosh as brave as his husband said, "Remember him, not as a loss, but for the passion of his duty. He had told me, mujhe unit sambhalna hai, tum ghar badiya sambhal logi." She further adds, ''He used to say, I will kill the terrorists and come back home the next day. He is keeping his promise. He will come home tomorrow but wrapped in a tricolour.''
Major Anuj Sood: A scholar soldier
Major Anuj Sood who was the part of the operation came from a military background. After graduating from the National Defence Academy excelling in the academic curriculum, he was commissioned into The Brigade of The Guards. His father, Brigadier Chandrakant Sood (Rtd.) also served in the Army. On his supreme sacrifice, Brigadier Chandrakant said, "He has made a supreme sacrifice. It was part of his duty what he was trained for. I feel sad for his wife as they just got married 3-4 months back. He was meant to save lives." The entire nation is indebted to the supreme sacrifice made by five of its finest men.