After suffering the heaviest casualty of this year in the hinterland of the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, additional forces have been deployed by the Army in the areas where terrorists were spotted on Monday morning.

Although no contact has been established with the terrorists involved in attacking the patrol party of the Army, all routes connecting Surankote and adjoining localities have been plunged to track down the terrorists. The dense forest of the Chmaraid area between Dera Gali and Surankote has been completely cordoned by the forces because terrorists are believed to be hiding in the woods

Giving details about the encounter in which five soldiers lost their lives, Defence spokesman, Lt Col Devender Anand said, "On the intervening night of Sunday and Monday, the anti-terrorist operation was launched by Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police in the area of Shahdara, near the boundary of Poonch-Rajouri districts in J&K."

Poonch martyrs
Defence PRO

"During the conduct of the operation, terrorists brought down a heavy volume of fire on to Army troops leading to fatal injuries to one JCO and four soldiers. The gallant JCO and soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty are Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh, SM, Naik Mandeep Singh, Sepoy Gajjan Singh, Sepoy Saraj Singh, and Sepoy Vaisakh H," he added.

"The nation will always remain indebted to our Bravehearts for their supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty," said the spokesman.

"After the initial encounter, the terrorists fled to nearby Bhangai village, which falls in Rajouri district, and the encounter is still in progress," he added.

Three soldiers from Punjab, one each from UP, Kerala lost their lives in the encounter

The Defence spokesman said Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh was a resident of Mana Talwandi village in Kapurthala Punjab, Naik Mandeep Singh from village Chalha Gurdaspur in Punjab, Sepoy Gajjan Singh of village Panchranda Ropar in Punjab, Sepoy Saraj Singh of village Akhtyarpur Dhavkal in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh and Sepoy Vaisakh H belonged to village Odanavattam of district Kollam in Kerala.

Poonch martyrs
Defence PRO

Punjab govt announces Rs 50 lakh, government job for three soldiers

Punjab government has announced ex-gratia grant of Rs 50 lakh and a government job to one member of the bereaved family of Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh (Sena Medal), Naik Mandeep Singh, and Sepoy Gajjan Singh, who laid down their lives in the service of the nation in a gunfight with the terrorists in Poonch.

Extending his sympathies to the bereaved families of the brave soldiers, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said their utmost dedication to defending the country's unity and integrity, even putting their lives at stake would ever inspire their fellow soldiers to perform their duties with far more devotion and commitment.

Gajjan Singh was married just four months ago

Sepoy Gajjan Singh of 23 SIKH who belonged to Pachranda village, Nurpur Bedi in Ropar district, was married just four months ago and is survived by his wife Harpreet Kaur. According to reports, he had recently joined the duty after his marriage.

Sepoy Saraj Singh of UP also married just a year ago. He belonged to the Shahjahanpur district of UT. His two brothers are also serving in the Army.

Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh of unit 4 MECH INFANTRY, (1 SIKH), hailed from Mana Talwandi village in Kapurthala and is survived by his wife Raj Kaur and daughter Samarjit Kaur.

Naik Mandeep Singh of 11 SIKH, was from Chhatha Shira village, near Ghanike Bangar (Aliwal to Fatehgarh Churian road) in Gurdaspur district and he is survived by his wife Mandeep Kaur and two sons who are three years and two months old, respectively.

LG, Azad condemn killings of soldiers

"I salute the martyrdom of our brave five army personnel JCO, Nb Sub Jaswinder Singh, Nk Mandeep Singh, Sep Gajjan Singh, Sep Vaisakh H, Sep Saraj Singh during an encounter with terrorists in Rajouri. The nation will never forget their bravery & sacrifice to the motherland", Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha tweeted.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad in a message here expressed grief on the loss of life of five soldiers while condemning the cowardly attack by terrorists. Azad has expressed grief on the loss of brave hearts and said, "my heart goes out for those families who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty while guarding the borders."

Meanwhile, Apni Party President Syed Mohammed Altaf Bukhari has also expressed concern over the martyrdom of a JCO and four Indian army jawans in an encounter in Surankote, Poonch. "We express our sympathy with the family members of the martyred soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation. Their supreme sacrifice will always be remembered," Bukhari added.