New Delhi: In 2015, Colonel MN Rai had lost his life in an operation in the Kashmir Valley. In November same year, Colonel Santosh Mahadik had lost his life. Since then, there has been no martyrs in the rank of a colonel of a first commanding officer to have lost their lives in encounters with terrorists. Colonel Ashutosh Sharma’s is the first in such rank to have lost his life — in yesterday’s operations in Handwara. Also Read - Handwara Encounter: Fearing Indian Retaliation, Pakistan Increases Patrolling by Its Fighter Jets

Colonel Sharma has been serving in the Guards Regiment for a long time and has been awarded the Sena Medial for gallantry twice, once for his bravery as the commanding officer. In a major feat, he had saved the men of his troops when a terrorist was rushing towards his men with a grenade hidden in his clothes. It was for this achievement, he had won the gallantry award. Also Read - Handwara Encounter: Pakistani Terrorist Hairder, a Top Let Commander Killed

Colonel Sharna, a resident of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh, is survived by his wife and a 12-year-old daughter. Also Read - Who is Top Lashkar-e-Taiba Commander Haider Who Has Been Killed in Handwara Encounter?

The Northern Command of the Indian Army has identified the jawans killed in the line of duty as Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh, Lance Naik Dinesh and Colonel Ashutosh Sharma. Officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Police have also identified the deceased sipahi as sub-inspector Shakeel Qazi.