New Delhi: Major Mohit Sharma of the Parachute Regiment, who was killed in the Hafrada forest battling terrorists on Saturday, is the first officer to be killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir in 2009.
The encounter with terrorists in the forests near Kupwara started on March 20 and entered its third day on Monday. Even as the operation continues, the body of slain Major Sharma was brought home for his last rites in New Delhi on Monday morning.
The 31-year-old Major died fighting heavily-armed terrorists at Kupwara. Three other soldiers, too, have been killed in the encounter while seven terrorists have been gunned down so far.
"Major Mohit Sharma was already a Sena Medal gallantry winner. He was one of the finest and a very brave officer. This was a very, very difficult operation in which he participated and he made the supreme sacrifice," said Lieutenant General PC Katoch, Colonel of the Parachute Regiment.
Major Sharma's elder brother Madhur remembers Mohit as a brilliant student and a boxing champion who was never afraid of danger.
Though he got shot in his leg in a military operation in 2004, Major Sharma's will to fight for the country never faltered..
"I am unfortunate that i don't have a son. I have two daughters. I will try and coach them to make sure that they join the army. Maybe they want to join the army," said Madhur Sharma.
Major Sharma's father RP Sharma with tears in his eyes simple said, "He died for the country. I am proud of him."
Every year, about 100 army soldiers are killed while battling insurgents. Major Sharma leaves behind his wife, also an army officer and his parents.
As the funeral pyre was lit a grateful nation bid adieu to one of its bravest son.