New Delhi, September 14
“No Sir” was the prompt reply of Colonel Manpreet Singh when he was offered a peace posting upon his promotion in 2021. Instead, he volunteered to stay and command the 19 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), a battalion credited with major kills of terrorists including Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani.
Col Singh, who is survived by his wife, a six-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, was a combat veteran and was awarded Sena Medal during his tenure as second-in-command of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles, a battalion tasked with ensuring security in South Anantnag, Kokernag and Verinag Achabal including its higher reaches, which have been highly infested with terrorists especially foreign mercenaries in the past.
Col Singh, who was in his early 40s, along with Major Ashish Dhonchak, DSP Himayun Bhat and a soldier, was killed in an encounter with terrorists on Wednesday in the higher reaches of Kokernag. One soldier is still missing.
After his promotion in 2021 as a Colonel, Singh was given a choice to opt for peace area posting. “No Sir, I would like to be posted in my 19 RR (Rashtriya Rifles) and be with my own men,” was his prompt response, politely rejecting the offer that had been made to him.
Major Dhonchak, 34, is remembered as an enthusiastic officer who used to go into the nitty gritty of every operation. During a search operation in Athlan Gadole of Kokernag on August 10, terrorists hurled a grenade, injuring three persons but Major Dhonchak had an escape.
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