Srinagar, 28 Feb 2023: Based on specific input, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Indian Army, JKP & CRPF at about 6:35 PM on 27 Feb 23 in Potgampora, Pulwama.

In order to evade Security Forces, the terrorists occupied a Mosque in the target area. Ensuring the sanctity of the mosque, the Security Forces closed in and appealed to the terrorists to surrender. The terrorists, however opened indiscriminate fire on Security Forces and when cornered, used civilians in target area as a shield to escape. The Security Forces displayed utmost restrain and evacuated civilians praying inside the mosque thereby preventing any collateral damage.

The Security Forces fired with extreme caution to preserve the sacred precincts and neutralized one terrorist on the spot. Meanwhile, the second terrorist fled and hid in the adjacent building housing the local citizens. In the intense firefight, lasting several hours, the Security Forces subsequently not only neutralized the second terrorist, but also safely evacuated the civilians trapped inside the house. During this action, Sepoy Pawan Kumar and Naik Hemraj, lead from the front and suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were immediately evacuated to 92 Base Hospital, Srinagar. Subsequent to the elimination of both the terrorists, the search of the area resulted in recovery of two AK series rifles, one pistol, three grenades and other war like stores.

Sepoy Pawan Kumar in a sheer act of bravery over powered the first terrorist in a hand to hand combat and was grievously injured. He subsequently succumbed to his injuries, making the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. The deceased soldier is survived by his mother, Smt Bhajun Dassi. The mortal remains of the brave soldier will be moved for the last rites to his native place at Village Pithyt, Post Kinoo, Tehsil Rampur, District Shimla, Himachal Pradesh and will be laid to rest with full military honours. In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved family and remains committed to their dignity and well-being.

According to JKP, the neutralized terrorists have been identified as Aqib Mushtaq Bhat of Malangpora, Pulwama, associated with proscribed terror outfit HM, but for the past few months working with TRF and Aijaz Ahmad Bhat of Syedabad Pastuna, Tral associated with terror outfit JeM and also working in coordination with TRF. Further investigation by JKP has also revealed that both the terrorists had come together to conspire and attack minorities, non-locals and Security Forces in Kashmir. Both the terrorists were also involved in killing of Mr Sanjay Sharma last Sunday and have now been neutralized within 48 hours of their heinous act by Security Forces.