In the Pulwama encounter in which four terrorists were killed in an operation led by the Indian Army on Saturday, the Garud Special Forces operatives played an important role as the officer continued to fire at the terrorists despite being hit twice in the firefight, sources in the security establishment said.
The Garud Commandos were in the limelight for a major operation four years ago when they carried out two major operations in 2017 where they killed eight terrorists.
Sources said that for the Pulwama operation on Saturday, the security forces including the 55 Rashtriya Rifles of the Army, Jammu and Kashmir police carried out a cordon and search operation in Naira village Pulwama gen area around 7 pm.
After some time, the forces managed to pinpoint the presence of terrorists inside a particular house based on inputs by locals. The forces immediately evacuated the civilians in and around the house and ensured that they were sent to a safe distance.
The forces tightened the cordon around the house which forced the terrorists to start firing at the forces to escape from the location. While resorting to heavy firing in an attempt to break the cordon, the terrorists came in direct line of fire with Army and Garud personnel which resulted in heavy gunfight from both sides.
In this process Squadron Leader Sandeep Jhanjaria of the Garud Special Forces was hit by a volley of fire and was hit with two bullets on his chest and left arm, sources added. Despite the injury, the officer continued engaging the terrorists till all the three fleeing militants were eliminated, sources said.
It further said while the troops were trying to look for more terrorists in the house after eliminating the three, one of the terrorists hiding there came out and started firing on the Garud troops party in which Corporal Anand was hit by a bullet.
The forces immediately neutralized the fourth terrorist also.
To help the Garud Special Forces gain experience in real combat, the Army Headquarters has been attaching Garud Special Forces operatives and sending them on attachment to Rashtriya Rifles units who carry out counter-terrorist operations on a daily basis.
In the 2017 operations in Hajin, the Guards were part of the 13 Rashtriya Rifles operations while in the encounter on Saturday, they were with the 55 Rashtriya Rifles.
In the Haji operations, Corporal JP Nirala was awarded the Ashok Chakra posthumously while team commander Wing Commander Rajeev Chauhan was given a Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry.