General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 15 Corps, Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, on Wednesday said martyred hero Colonel M N Rai, who was killed in a gunfight with terrorists in Tral, was one who always led his men from the front.
Colonel Rai and Jammu and Kashmir Police officer Head Constable Sanjay Singh had been killed on Tuesday by militants who had taken refuge in a house. When the house was cordoned, the terrorists went all out, resulting in the death of the two.
The incident occurred after Colonel Rai was awarded the Yudh Seva medal during the Republic Day celebrations.
Speaking of the incident, Lt. Gen. Saha said, “He always led from the front, and the multiple operations that he carried out, he was always in the front line leading his men to deliver exceedingly well. Even in the operation yesterday, soon after the cordon was established, the commanding officer was in charge right in front, when he was approached by the father of one of the terrorists, who said that his son would like to surrender. Under these circumstances, the two terrorists rushed out of the house and fired rampantly.”
“It is to the credit of the very quick response of Colonel M N Rai that he retaliated immediately in the brief, but tense fire fight, in which the terrorists, a district commander and a young recruit, were eliminated. If it were not for his quick response, quite clearly, there could have been civilian casualties, who were in that vicinity,” he added.
Lt. Gen. Saha said Colonel Rai’s bravery and dedication went beyond the battlefield.
“The commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, Colonel M N Rai combined bravery with compassion. People in charge knew him well for several of his initiatives. He also played an important role during the Kashmir floods [of September 2014], directly being responsible for the rescue of two ladies. He was also commended for his work during the recently held assembly elections in the state,” he said.
“Under his leadership, the narrative in Tral was changing. The supreme sacrifice by Colonel M N Rai and Head Constable Sanjay Singh only strengthens our resolve to fight all elements threatening the security of Kashmir,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the army had conducted a formal wreath laying ceremony for the martyred hero.