Armyman killed in Kashmir a day after getting medal

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Srinagar/New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) Two Hizbul Mujahideen guerrillas and an army officer – who was awarded a gallantry medal on Republic Day – were killed and a policeman was injured in a gunfight Tuesday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said.

Col. Munindra Nath Rai of 9 Gorkha Rifles, seconded to the Rashtriya Rifles, was awarded a Yudh Seva Medal Monday, the army said in a statement in New Delhi.

The gunfight ensued when personnel of the army’s 42 Rashtriya Rifles, police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched a joint operation in Handoora forest area near Tral town following information about the presence of militants, a police officer told IANS in Srinagar.

When the militants were surrounded and challenged to lay down their weapons, they fired at the security personnel that resulted in injuries to Col. 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 Col. 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 Firdous Ahmed and Shiraz Ahmad of Hizbul Mujahideen.

Both the slain militants were locals, the police officer said.

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