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Families Recall Final Phone Call from Colonel and Major in ‘He Said He’d Call Back

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Colonel Manpreet Singh, one of the three security personnel who tragically lost their lives during a confrontation with terrorists in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir, had his last conversation with family members at 6:45 AM on that fateful Wednesday.

Colonel Singh, along with Major Ashish Dhonack and Deputy Superintendent Himayun Bhat, sustained severe injuries during the gun battle with terrorists in Anantnag’s Garol area on Wednesday. Tragically, all three officers succumbed to their injuries while receiving medical treatment, according to official reports. Additionally, one jawan lost his life, and the whereabouts of another soldier remain unknown.

Colonel Singh’s brother-in-law, Virender Gill, spoke about their final conversation, saying, “Our last communication with him (Colonel Singh) was at 6:45 AM. He mentioned that he would call back later. He was a remarkable man. He received the Sena Medal for his dedicated service last year. I salute him.” Colonel Singh, aged 41, served as the commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles.

Major Ashish Dhonack, aged 34, is survived by his wife and two-year-old daughter, residing in Panipat, Haryana. His uncle recalled their last telephone conversation, saying, “We last spoke to him when he was at home a month and a half ago. He was supposed to return in October to shift residences.”

Deputy Superintendent Himayun Bhat, a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, was the son of retired Inspector General Ghulam Hassan Bhat. He tragically lost his life due to severe blood loss. Mr. Bhat and his wife had recently welcomed a daughter, just two months before this tragic incident.

The bodies of the police officer and the two army officers were recovered from the forests in the Kokernag area of Anantnag. Dilbagh Singh, the Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, and Lieutenant General Rajiv Ghai, the Army’s 15 Corps commander, were among the senior officials who rushed to the encounter site to oversee the evacuation of the bodies.

The operation was initiated following specific intelligence regarding the presence of terrorists. The army and police jointly launched the operation late on Tuesday night. The team, led by the commanding officer and a deputy superintendent of the Jammu and Kashmir police, came under heavy gunfire during the operation.

In the fierce gunfight with well-entrenched terrorists, all three officers sustained critical injuries. Reinforcements were swiftly dispatched to the scene, but due to the intense gunfire from the terrorists, the injured officers could not be evacuated immediately, according to sources.

This encounter on Wednesday followed a previous day’s incident in which Kent, a six-year-old female Labrador dog from the Army’s canine unit, was killed, and three security personnel were injured during a gunfight in Rajouri. Two terrorists were killed in the earlier confrontation.

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