The family of Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, who was killed in action in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Handwara during the weekend, paid tribute to the officer this morning in Jaipur.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held in Jaipur ahead of his funeral which will be held in the city. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, his deputy Sachin Pilot and BJP MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore were among those who paid their last respects to the decorated officer and offered condolences to Colonel Sharma's family at the Jaipur Military Station.
The officer's wife Pallavi Sharma - in a white kurta - and their young daughter Tamanna - rose above their grief and were were seen saluting the officer. His mother too paid him tribute.
Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, who had been awarded gallantry medals twice for exemplary bravery in counter-terrorist missions, was the commanding officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles which was involved in the anti-terror operation in Handwara. Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar and Lance Naik Dinesh, who were from the same unit, and police officer Shakeel Ahmad Qazi, were part of the joint security operation and were killed in action.
Colonel Sharma's body arrived in Jaipur on Monday by a special aircraft and was taken to the military hospital in a decorated army vehicle.
The last rites of Major Anuj Sood will also be held today in Chandigarh, officials said. Floral tributes were paid at the Chandigarh Air Force station as his body arrived there on Monday.
The body of Lance Naik Dinesh Singh is expected to reach Uttarakhand's Almora today, an official said. The 25-year-old soldier's father too was in the army.
A joint anti-terrorist operation by the armed forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police was carried out in the Handwara area of Kupwara district in north Kashmir, about 70 km from capital Srinagar, an army statement said, adding that the five-member team was able to rescue several civilians. Two terrorists were killed during the joint operation.
Paying tribute to the five security personnel on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said their "valour and sacrifice will never be forgotten". "Tributes to our courageous soldiers and security personnel martyred in Handwara. Their valour and sacrifice will never be forgotten. They served the nation with utmost dedication and worked tirelessly to protect our citizens. Condolences to their families and friends," he wrote.
On Monday, at least three jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed and seven injured after a patrolling party of the paramilitary force was attacked by terrorists in Handwara, triggering a fierce gun-battle.