The wife and daughter of deceased 21 Rashtriya Rifles Commanding Officer Col Ashutosh Sharma, who was killed along with five security personnel – including four army men and one J&K policeman – bid him a final goodbye in a cremation ceremony organized by the army on Sunday morning at his hometown of Jaipur. The 18-hour anti-terrorist operation in north Kashmir’s Handwara area also killed Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar, and Lance Naik Dinesh, and police officer Shakeel Ahmad Qazi.
One among the Army officers who sacrificed their lives for the nation was Col. Ashutosh Sharma, who hailed from the city of Jaipur. GOC-in-C South Western Command Lt Gen Alok Kler, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Deputy CM Sachin Pilot and, BJP MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also attended the cremation ceremony at the army station Jaipur. The officer’s mother was also present at the ceremony.
A wave of tearful sentiment gripped the crowd as Sharma’s tearful wife, Pallavi, and daughter bid salute to the decorated officer wrapped in the tricolour, who was cremated with full military honours. Sharma had been a recipient of two gallantry medals for his performance in anti-terrorist operations. Two terrorists were also killed in the latest operation.
This is also the second time in two decades that the Battalion lost commander in the region. In 2000, Col RS Chauhan was killed in an IED blast in the region, along with the sector commander Brigadier BS Shergill a Major, two Jawans and an Assistant Sub-Inspector of the J&K police along with two terrorists near Warpora village in Baramulla. Even more coincidentally, both Sharma and Chauhan were recipients of the Sena Medal. Shergill had just taken over command and was on a familiarization visit.
By Monday, the army has also appointed a new CO, Col Gagandeep Singh, after he along with six others volunteered to succeed Sharma. A newspaper report quoted a senior officer about Singh having given up a prestigious appointment at the Military Operations directorate to take over reigns of the unit, after having commanded the unit just a few years ago.