SAGEER Ahmad Pathan, the J&K Police Sub-Inspector killed in the encounter at Handwara in Kupwara district on Saturday, had been part of several successful anti-militancy operations in the Valley, earning him three out-of-turn promotions in the force’s Special Operations Group (SOG) and several gallantry medals.
A resident of Karnah in Kupwara, the 42-year-old was leading the SOG team under the command of District SP, Handwara, that was part of the operation, along with the Army’s 21 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion.
Pathan had joined police in 1999 in its Armed Wing, and had been with the counter-insurgency unit SOG since 2006.
“In recognition of his immense contribution, Pathan was granted three out-of-turn promotions and rose from the rank of a Constable to Sub-Inspector,” a police spokesperson said.
Among the bravery awards Pathan— who leaves behind his parents, wife and four children — won was Sher-i-Kashmir Police Medal for Gallantry in 2009 and Police Medal for Gallantry by the President of India in 2011.
Calling him a courageous officer, the J&K Police said Pathan “attained martyrdom protecting integrity and sovereignty of our nation and safeguarding the interests of people till last breath”.
Naik Rajesh Kumar, who also died in the encounter, was one of five siblings. The family is based in Rajrana village of Punjab’s Mansa district.
Brother Subash Kumar said they were yet to tell their parents of the 29-year-old’s death and were waiting for the body, expected to arrive on Monday morning. “They will not be able to bear the shock. We are not even crying in front of them.”
Rajesh joined the Army 10 years ago and last visited home in February.
Owning less than one acre of land, the family makes by doing contract farming at times and depended on the money Rajesh sent home, villagers said. While the two sisters are married, neither of the brothers is.
Family friend Sandeep Jayani said Rajesh had only last year got the family’s small house renovated.
Subhash said they were proud of their brother’s sacrifice. “Mera bhai desh ke liye shaheed hua hai.Voh kabhi jang se nahin dara (My brother laid down his life for the country. He never feared a battle).”
Mourning the loss of the five security personnel in the Kashmir encounter, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced a job for a member of Rajesh’s family plus Rs 10 lakh, in addition to the compensation the family will receive as part of an existing policy of the state government.
Lance Naik Dinesh Singh, also among those killed, was the son of a retired Army Subedar. The family, including father Godhan Singh, Dinesh’s mother and two elder sisters, belongs to Mirgaon village in Almora district of Uttarakhand.
His brother-in-law Laxman Singh Dasila said the 24-year-old last visited his family in November, but would talk to his mother daily. The family hoped to get the Lance Naik married this year and were looking for a girl for him.
Dinesh’s body is expected to reach Mirgaon village on Monday. The last rites of the dead personnel will be carried out bearing coronavirus protocols in mind.