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Nation Pays Tribute To Handwara Martyrs; Last Salute Held With Full Military Honours

Major Anuj Sood, who was martyred in an anti-terror operation in north Kashmir, was cremated will full military honours on Tuesday.

Handwara

Major Anuj Sood, who was martyred in an anti-terror operation in north Kashmir, was cremated will full military honours on Tuesday. He was among the five security forces personnel who were martyred on Saturday night in an encounter while fighting terrorits in Handwara area of frontier district Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, an operation in which the Army also lost a colonel.

Touching scenes were witnessed moments before his last rites when the body was taken from his Panchkula residence to the cremation ground in Mani Majra in Chandigarh. His wife Akriti threw her arms around the coffin to bid adieu just before the body was put on a bedecked army vehicle.

Major Sood's sister Harshita, who is also an Army officer, was seen consoling her sister-in-law at the Panchkula residence and later at the cremation ground. The Army officer's mortal remains had arrived here from Srinagar on Monday afternoon. Slogans like "Vande Mataram", "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Major Anuj Amar Rahe" were raised as Major Sood's body, wrapped in tricolor, was taken to the cremation ground. Before the cremation, floral wreaths were laid by many serving and retired Army officers among others.

READ | Army chief Naravane warns Pakistan for exporting terror amid COVID-19 pandemic

Anti-Terrorist Front of India President, Viresh Shandilya, while laying floral wreaths raised "Pakistan Murdabad" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" slogans. Later, when the cremation took place, only the family members were allowed inside the cremation ground to ensure social distancing norms were followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Besides Army officer's family members including his wife, his father and sister, senior Army officers were also present during the cremation. A guard of honour was given to Major Sood by the Army and three-volley gunshots were fired. The Army officer's funeral pyre was lit by his father.  Major Sood's father, Brigadier Chandrakant Sood (retd), had earlier told the media that the news of the death left him shocked, but at the same time he was proud of the supreme sacrifice the officer had made for his motherland. "He was a true son of the nation," he had said at his Panchkula home.

The 30-year-old Army officer who was from the Brigade of the Guards regiment, part of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles andan alumnus of Punjab Public School, Nabha, had joined the National Defence Academy in 2008. He had one dream, which was to join the Army, according to his family. His family said he was scheduled to return home after a gap of six months and having finished his two-year stint in Jammu and Kashmir, he was to join the 12 Guards unit in Gurdaspur.

READ: Coronavirus LIVE Updates

Rajasthan CM, South Western Army chief pay tributes 

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Soldier Welfare Minister Pratap Singh, South Western Army chief Lt Gen Alok Kler and others paid tributes to Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, who was martyred in an encounter with terrorists in Kashmir, here on Tuesday. Other officers of the Army and family members and relatives of Col Sharma were also present.

A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Jaipur Military Station's 61 Cavalry ground, where Chief Minister Gehlot and Lt Gen Kler paid their last respects to the slain officer. They consoled his family members present there. Col Sharma's wife was seen greeting them with folded hands. Soldier Welfare Minister Singh, MP Rajyavardhan Rathore, Jaipur Collector Jogaram and other senior officials of the Army laid wreaths and paid their tributes.

READ | CDS Gen. Rawat says 'Pakistan frustrated with peace in J&K', lauds Handwara martyrs

5 security personnel martyred in Handwara encounter

On Sunday, 5 security personnel including an Army Colonel and Major were martyred in an encounter with terrorists at a village in Handwara, Jammu and Kashmir. As per the Indian Army statement, a joint operation was launched by the Army and Police based on the intelligence input that terrorists had taken civilians as hostages in a house in Changimul, Handwara. The security personnel managed to safely rescue the citizens and eliminated two terrorists. Subsequently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. President Ram Nath Kovind, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and several other top officials paid tribute to the martyred personnel. 

READ |Army Chief warns Pak after Handwara encounter, says 'India will respond appropriately'

(with PTI inputs)

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