Unlucky thirteen became lucky for Colonel Ashutosh Sharma to join the Indian Army after attempting it for six-and-a-half years as he had no other dream than donning the olive green uniform. He had waged a war to join the Army some way or the other until he finally achieved success in his 13th attempt and finally joined the Indian Army.
The encounter in Handwara in Kupwara district on 2nd May 2020, claimed the lives of Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh, and Lance Naik Dinesh, all from the Brigade of the Guards regiment, and at present part of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles, who were deployed to counter terrorism in the hinterland. A Jammu and Kashmir Police Sub-Inspector, Sageer Ahmad Pathan alias Qazi, also fell victim to the bullets of terrorists.
Meanwhile, here are things to know about Colonel Sharma:
- Colonel is originally from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh and is survived by his wife Pallavi Sharma and his 12-year-old daughter Tamanna.
- Attempting to get into the army for six-and-a-half years, Col Sharma successfully joined the Army in his thirteenth attempt.
- Colonel Sharma, the Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles battalion, was a decorated officer. He served Kashmir for a long time and was twice awarded Sena medal for gallantry, including one for bravery as CO.
- He received the gallantry award as a CO when he shot a militant- who was rushing towards his men on a road with a grenade hidden in his clothes- at close range.
- Col Sharma is the first CO or a Colonel rank officer in the last five years to have lost his life in an encounter with militants. Before this, the Army had lost two colonel-ranking officers in separate terror incidents in 2015.
- He had told his colleagues that he would nab or gun down the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, according to India Today.
- Col Sharma used to go out of the way for his jawans and solve their problems, reported Economic Times.
- Before the encounter, intelligence inputs indicated the presence of the same group of terrorists inside a house at Changimulla village, prompting Col Sharma to launch a cordon-and-search operation along with his team and Qazi.
- According to the officials, the team came under heavy fire after rescuing the civilians and all communication link with Col Sharma and his team was snapped.