Five Special Forces soldiers of the Indian Army took down an equal number of terrorists while later succumbing themselves over the weekend in the Keran sector on the Line of Control in an intense close-quarter fight, the Indian Army said on Monday. The bodies of the commandos and the terrorists were found barely two to three metres from each other, an Indian Army officer said.
In a statement on Monday, the army said all five terrorists were killed in “an intense hand-to-hand battle. The Indian Army launched a daring operation at the Line of Control (LoC) and engaged Pakistani-supported infiltrators in a close-quarter battle in heavy snow, neutralising the entire infiltrating batch of five. Four soldiers under the command of a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) from one of the most professional Para SF (Special Forces) units were heli-dropped near the LoC after information on the infiltrators was received,” the statement said.
While three of the commandos died during the encounter two others died as they were being airlifted to a military hospital. The operation to intercept the infiltrators began on 1 April when patrolling troops reported footprints near the LoC fence that was covered under snow, when the SF team was pressed into service to make up for the impediments caused by the heavy snowfall over difficult terrain. The initial army were unable to make any progress owing to climactic conditions. That’s when the commandos from 4 Para (SF) were called in to take over the operation, he said.
Based on visuals from unmanned aerial vehicles, the commandos were ferried to the nearest battalion headquarters by air as the location was cut off due to heavy snow in the area. In the early hours of Sunday, the five commandos, led by Subedar Sanjeev Kumar began following footmarks in the snow and several hours later reached a water channel, splitting into two groups.
“One of the groups were atop a cornice which collapsed with the squad leader and the two scouts down all the way to the channel where the terrorists were hiding, which was followed by a close-quarter battle at virtually point blank range,” the officer said. The two commandos in the second group rushed to their aid, which ended with all five terrorists being eliminated.
“Such close range hand-to-hand combat is highly unusual as encounters take place at a certain distance. The commandos put up a brave fight,” said an officer. The other fallen commandos have been identified as Havildar Davendra Singh, Paratroopers Bal Krishnan, Amit Kumar and Chhatrapal Singh.