Seven Indian soldiers have reportedly been martyred in the Pathankot terror attack, which began on Saturday at 3.30 am.
The last reported death was that of Lt. Col Niranjan E Kumar of the NSG who was martyred in an IED blast during combing operations at the Pathankot Air Base on Sunday morning.
According to India Today journalist Shiv Aroor who covers the Defence beat, Niranjan was an officer from the NSG's bomb disposal unit and trained recently also by the FBI. He joined the Indian Army in 2004 and was in ordnance disposal ops while deployed in Jharkhand. He had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel three months ago. Niranjan was a native of Palakkad district in Kerala.
Niranjan's father Shivarajan told reporters on Sunday that he last spoke to him at 5pm on Saturday when he said that he was in the operation and will call him back.
â€śPained to know about the demise of Lt. Col. Niranjan of NSG during mopping out operations at Pathankot. The nation salutes his sacrifice,â€ť Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
â€śDeeply saddened about the loss of Lt Colonel #NiranjanKumar. Sharing the grief of family,â€ť Chief Minister of Kerala Oommen Chandy tweeted
On Saturday, three soldiers, including one commando of the Indian Air Force (IAF)â€™s special Garud unit and two Defence Security Corps died while battling the terrorists. On Sunday morning, three more security personnel succumbed to their injuries in hospital.
According to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrish, 6 IAF personnel and 1 National Security Guard commander were killed in the attack, whereas 2 commandos are in extremely critical condition.
Amongst those killed included IAF Garud Commando Gursewak Singh, NSG Defence Security Corps Kulwant Singh and Honorary Captain Fateh Singh and jawans Jagdish Singh and Sanjiv Kumar.Fateh Singh.
Niranjan with his family
Though reports suggested that five terrorists allegedly belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed, were killed in the Pathankot encounter, Rajnath Singh withdrew an earlier tweet putting the death toll at five. The exact number of terrorists dead cannot be confirmed as of now.
Though the retaliatory operation was wound up around 8.30 pm on Saturday, there was a fresh attack around 9.15 am on Sunday morning. Media reports suggest that officials are tightlipped since they do not want to let any information out and compromise the operation.
Subedar Fateh Singh, a 51-year-old Army man lost his life during combing operations on Saturday had won a gold and a silver medal at the first Commonwealth Shooting Championships held in Delhi in 1995.
Not Canon Fodder for Pak Terror! CWG Gold Medalist Hony Capt Fateh Singh martyred. Must evolve effective response pic.twitter.com/D3WH6pEprnâ€” GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) January 3, 2016
The Pathankot police told the media that the attack started soon after a combing operation was carried out by the army on Saturday in the area between the Air base installation and Chakki river.
Direct firing between terrorists and soldiers has been raging for several hours.