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Kohli, Gambhir pay homage to Handwara martyrs  

by Saurabh Sharma May 04, 2020 • 11:10 AM

New Delhi, May 4: Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir have paid tributes to five security personnel who lost their lives in an encounter with terrorists in North Kashmir's Handwara district last week.

"Those who don't forget their duty in any circumstances are true heroes. Their sacrifices must not be forgotten. I bow my head to the army personnel & the policemen who lost their lives at Handwara and sincerely send my condolences to their families and wish them peace. Jai Hind," Kohli said in a tweet on Sunday.

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Meanwhile, Gambhir said: "Who is a real hero? Actor? Sportsperson? Politician? No, only a soldier! Forever & Always! Salute to their parents! Bravest souls walking on Earth!"

Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, who was commanding a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in the Rajwar area of Handwara tehsil, apart from Major Anuj Sood, Lance Naik Dinesh Singh, Naik Rajesh Kumar and sub-inspector Qazi Shakeel Ahmad, made the supreme sacrifice in the 20-hour-long gunfight with holed-up terrorists in the Chanjimulla village on Saturday night.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid homage to the slain soliders, saying their valour and sacrifice would 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," Modi tweeted.

Saluting the personnel, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said operations in Handwara highlighted determination of security forces to safeguard the lives of the people.

"Commanding Officer, leading from the front, along with other personnel of the unit and the J&K Police have laid down their lives, living up to the motto -- 'Service Before Self'," General Rawat said.

The armed forces, he said, were proud of their courage as they eliminated terrorists. "We salute these brave personnel and express our deep felt condolences for the bereaved families."