New Delhi: Offering condolences on martyrdom of five security personnel, including a decorated colonel of the Indian Army, in an encounter with terrorists Jammu and Kashmir’s in Handwara, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday that their sacrifice and bravery will never be never forgotten. Also Read - Shah Faesal, 2 PDP Leaders to be Released Soon as J-K Administration Revokes Public Safety Act Against Them

He said, “The loss of our soldiers and security personnel in Handwara (J&K) is deeply disturbing and painful. They showed exemplary courage in their fight against the terrorists and made supreme sacrifice while serving the country. We will never forget their bravery and sacrifice.” Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: 3 Jaish Terrorists, Including Bomb Expert, Killed in Pulwama Encounter



The minister said that he offers his tributes to the soldiers and security personnel who fell in action. “My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones today. India stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of these brave martyrs,” the minister tweeted. Also Read - 'Despite COVID, Delivery of Rafale Fighter Aircraft on Time': Rajnath After Speaking to French Counterpart

Saluting these personnel, the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said that operations in Handwara highlight the determination of the security forces to safeguard the lives of the people.



“Commanding Officer leading from the front along with other personnel of the unit and J&K Police have laid down their lives, living upto the motto; Service Before Self,” General Rawat said

He also said that the Armed Forces are proud of their courage as they have successfully eliminated the terrorists. “We salute these brave personnel and express our deep felt condolences for the bereaved families,” he said.

In a statement, Indian Army said that based on the intelligence input that terrorists were taking the civilian inmates of a house in Changimulla at Handwara of Kupwara district hostage, a joint operation was launch by Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police.

“A team comprising of five Army and J&K Police personnel entered the target area occupied by the terrorists to evacuate the civilians. The team of Army and JK Police entered the target area and successfully extricated the civilian,” Indian Army said.

The force stated that during the process, the team was subjected to heavy volume of fire by the terrorists.

“In the ensuing fire fight two terrorists were eliminated and the team of five army and J&K personnel comprising of two Army officers, two Army soldiers and one J&K Police Sub Inspector attained martyrdom,” Indian Army said.