Army officer killed in Kashmir a day after getting medal

Srinagar: Two security personnel, including an Army officer, who was awarded a gallantry medal on the occasion of Republic Day, were today killed in a fierce gunbattle which also left two Hizbul Mujahideen militants dead in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Colonel M M Rai, commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, and a policeman were killed in the gunbattle at Mindora village of Tral, 36 km from here, an Army spokesman said. He said two militants, both locals, were also killed in the operation which left a soldier seriously injured.

Col Rai was among the gallantry medal awardees announced on the eve of Republic Day. He was awarded Yudh Seva medal for his role in a gunbattle with militants in south Kashmir last year, the spokesman said.

The encounter broke out today when the police assisted by Rashtriya Rifles of the army launched an operation after getting a tip off that a local Hizbul militant along with another accomplices had come home.

The slain militants have been identified as Adil Khan, a local resident of Mindora, and Shiraz Dar. Both were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, police said. Some arms and ammunition have recovered from the scene of the encounter.

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