Tral, 4th March 2017
Two most wanted militants took shelter in a Kaccha house and army closed in on them as they had clear information that these two had stocked heavy ammunition.
Aquib, an A++ high-grade militant of the Hizbul Mujahideen, and Usman, a Pakistani of the Jaish-e-Mohammed started to open fire on the cordon. The cordon which was laid around 4 pm on Saturday afternoon, pinned down the duo.
the amount of ammunition they had was a major concern. They avoided bursts, firing one shot at a time, the cordon got an idea that these two are heavily armed.
The deployed troops and plugged any escape routes for these two targets. Aquib was the longest-surviving local militant from the area. Within a short span of time, the troops had occupied positions which had advantage to aim at the terrorists. They then started the process to plant explosives in the house to make the terrorists reveal their positions.
Major Rishi Nair moved into the house himself for the task.
It was his quick thinking and action that had forced The terrorists to retreat into the rear portion of the house, giving the army team and local police troops an advantage to corner them further.
In the early hours of the morning, he moved in first to plant the Improvised Explosive Device (IED). In any operation this is considered to be the most dangerous and challenging job. There is a high risk of direct exposure to the enemy. Major Rishi led his very professional Quick Response Team into the firefight, placed the IED and blew up a portion of the house.
As soon as he placed the bomb, one of the terrorists opened fire at him from point-blank range. A bullet hit directly Major Rishi’s face, blew off his nose and badly damaged his cheekbone and jaw.
Despite the grave injury, the officer realized if he fails to respond now, whole operation may get jeopardized.
That very moment, the Major sprang up and used his AK-47 rifle and shot at the terrorist in quick moment. he crawled out and led his QRT away.
His upper jaw and nose were gravely injured, but the bullet had not pierced his brain.
The RMO could only roughly patch him up before he was sent to the hospital where surgeons had tough task of saving this lion heart. Surgery lasted through the night.
The 16-hour pitched gunfight ended with the death of the two terrorists on 4th March 2017.
8 surgeries been done, 3 are yet to happen. Bone graft from legs were used to reconstruct his jaw. the operation left Major Rishi with a forever gallant face.
His ability to speak and make friends with everybody resulted in him making many friends among locals notorious for spitting and pelting stones on the patrols in the area after Burhan’s elimination. But it was because of Major Rishi the area under him was the quietest with no stones thrown.
People of Tral call him ‘Khan Sahib’.
For his gallant action, IC-72692W Maj Rishi R, 42 RR was bestowed upon with Sena Medal for Gallantry on the Independence Day of 2017
Laying the cordon for this operation had been a Herculean task. Because people from surrounding villages came rushing to try and prevent the cordon, and to try and let the militants escape. Curfew was then announced, and the CRPF set up roadblocks, while the army began to engage the militants.
One policeman, Manzoor Ahmad Naik, was martyred during the operation. He belonged to the 11th battalion of the Indian Reserve Police. Another, Gulzar Ahmad of the anti-militancy Special Operations Group, was injured. A stray bullet also hit a CRPF man.
What is it that they are unstoppable? They are driven by the strong commitment to their duty, they never back down. No matter if the bullet hits face or chest or head, they face the consequences with utmost bravery. They sacrifice their lives on call of duty.
These bravehearts will inspire generations to come. It is our duty to pass on their stories of bravery, so that none of our generation forget their ultimate sacrifice.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth