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Heroes Fall, Nation Grieves

In a display of unwavering bravery, DYSP Humayun Bhat, Colonel Manpreet Singh, and Major Aashish Dhonchak made the ultimate sacrifice while battling terrorists in Anantnag. Their legacy of courage will forever inspire us.

By Ajaz Rashid

On September 13, a harrowing encounter unfolded in the dense forests of Gadool area in Kokernag, Anantnag. This joint operation involved security forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police, acting upon intelligence inputs regarding the presence of 2-3 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including a local militant named Uzair Khan. Their mission: to neutralize the threat. The operation persisted for over 100 hours, with thousands of troops, including para commandos, engaged in an unrelenting gunfight amidst unforgiving terrain. Heroes Fall, Nation Grieves

The confrontation, which began on a Wednesday, proved a grueling battle against both time and terror. The terrorists’ heavy gunfire compounded the challenges, making the evacuation of wounded and fallen soldiers a perilous endeavor. Army’s assault and climbing teams strategically positioned themselves in the towering, dense forest, launching a relentless offensive against the hidden militants. However, amid the intense combat, uncertainty shrouded whether any of the terrorists had been successfully apprehended.

In the midst of this relentless operation, the nation mourned the loss of three courageous heroes – Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police (DYSP) Humayun Bhat, Colonel Manpreet Singh, and Major Aashish Dhonchak of the Indian Army. They made the ultimate sacrifice during this prolonged encounter. DYSP Humayun Bhat, a dedicated officer, leaves behind a heart-wrenching legacy, including a young family, including a month-old baby. The poignant scene of his father, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, a former Inspector General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, laying a wreath on his son’s coffin, brought tears to many during the official event held to honor the young martyr.

Heroes Fall, Nation Grieves


The final rites of DYSP Humayun Muzammil Bhat were performed amidst solemn tributes and heavy hearts. The sacrifices of these heroes serve as a stark reminder of the relentless challenges faced by our security forces in the region. They have etched their names in the annals of history, and their valor will forever inspire generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with their grieving families and loved ones during this difficult time.

In a heart-wrenching scene, 34-year-old Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) and a 2018 batch officer of JKPS, Humayun Muzamil Bhat, the youngest among the three valiant police and army officials who laid down their lives in the encounter with terrorists in Anantnag, had an exceptionally poignant and emotional farewell. After being shot by terrorists, DSP Bhat summoned all his courage and made a heart-wrenching video call to his wife, Fatima. In that gut-wrenching moment, he shared his deepest concerns and fears, urging her to take care of their two-month-old infant, as he had a premonition that he might not return from the operation alive, as reported by India Today.

Prior to this heart-wrenching call to his wife, DSP Bhat had also dialed his father, retired Inspector General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Ghulam Hassan Bhat. In this call, he conveyed that he was injured but reassured his father, saying he was “okay.” Tragically, DSP Bhat succumbed to his injuries, primarily due to heavy blood loss, leaving behind a legacy of courage, sacrifice, and an indomitable spirit that will forever be remembered.

Lt Governor’s Tribute

Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, expressed profound grief over the untimely demise of these officers and paid his respects to DYSP Humayun Bhat in Humhama, Budgam. Saluting the indomitable courage and supreme sacrifice of Colonel Manpreet Singh, Major Aashish Dhonchak, and DySP Humayun, the LG remarked on the tragic day when the encounter broke out, resulting in the loss of these three valiant lives in the fight against terrorism.

The LG’s office shared a post on the social media platform X, stating, “Paid tributes to JKP’s DySP Humayun Bhat, who laid down his life in an anti-terror operation in Anantnag. I salute the indomitable courage and supreme sacrifice of Col Manpreet Singh & Major Aashish Dhonchak. The entire nation stands firmly with their families in this hour of grief.”

In a display of solidarity and support, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha of Jammu and Kashmir visited the residence of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DYSP) Humayun Bhat on Monday, September 18. During his visit, Manoj Sinha provided assurance and comfort to the grieving family, assuring them of all necessary assistance and support during this difficult time.

Sacrifice of Colonel Manpreet Singh and Major Aashish Dhonchak

Colonel Manpreet Singh, the Commanding Officer of 19 Rashtriya Rifles, and Major Aashish Dhonchak of the Indian Army also succumbed to injuries sustained during the prolonged encounter, their deaths attributed to excessive blood loss. Colonel Manpreet Singh hailed from Panchkula, Haryana, and is survived by his wife and two young children, while Major Aashish Dhonchak, from Haryana’s Panipat, leaves behind his wife and a two-year-old daughter.

In a statement, the Indian Army shared the tragic news, underscoring the gravity of the situation, stating, “An Indian Army Colonel commanding a Rashtriya Rifles Unit and a Major have lost their lives in an encounter in Anantnag with terrorists in Kashmir.”

Heroes Fall, Nation Grieves

Also, the Jammu and Kashmir Police in their official handle on social media platform ‘X’ posted, “An encounter has started in Kokernag area of Anantnag. Officers from the Army and JKP (Jammu and Kashmir Police) were injured.”

Community Resilience: Locals Join Forces in Recovering Colonel Manpreet Singh’s Body

This time the tale, however, takes a transformative twist as the local Kashmiri, who had previously been involved in disruptive activities at encounter sites in the Kashmir Valley, underwent a profound shift in perspective. They now understand that violence reaps no rewards. Instead, they have displayed unparalleled valor and unity by stepping forward to support security personnel in recovering Colonel Manpreet Singh’s body, a testament to the transformative impact of the government’s dedicated efforts in fostering growth and peace in the region.

In response to the tragic killings, a unified outpouring of outrage and heartfelt tributes flooded in from across the nation, both on social media and in the streets. Candlelight marches held at various locations throughout Jammu and Kashmir showcased the collective grief and solidarity, as locals came together to pay their respects, demonstrating that even in the face of adversity, the spirit of unity and remembrance prevails.

Assertion of a Terrorist Attack

Responsibility for this heinous act was claimed by the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist group, The Resistance Front (TRF), who had previously carried out an attack on Army personnel on August 4th in the Halan first area of Kulgam district, resulting in the martyrdom of three brave soldiers. During the operation, a cache of warlike stores and large quantities of medicines bearing Pakistan markings were discovered at the terrorists’ hideout.

The sacrifices of DYSP Humayun Bhat, Colonel Manpreet Singh, and Major Aashish Dhonchak serve as a stark reminder of the relentless challenges faced by security forces in the region. These brave heroes have etched their names in the annals of history, and their valor will forever inspire generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their grieving families and loved ones during this difficult time.

Meanwhile, the operation to flush out terrorists who had taken refuge in the rugged Gadole forest area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district continued into its seventh day. Security forces are using drones to pinpoint the hideouts of these militants, aiding in planning and executing operations against them effectively. This ongoing operation underscores the relentless efforts of security forces to combat terrorism in the region.

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