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5 Special Forces men, 5 terrorists: How a deadly hand-to-hand fight at the LoC unfolded

Five commandos of the elite 4 Para were killed in action after they eliminated 5 terrorists from Pakistan in close combat in J&K’s Keran sector.

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New Delhi: In one of the deadliest operations seen along the Line of Control, a hand-to-hand combat and close fire ensued Saturday that left five Special Forces personnel killed in action in Jammu and Kashmir’s Keran sector even as they managed to take out five terrorists who had sneaked in from Pakistan.

A frozen nallah became the combat location after the soldiers accidentally fell into it while chasing a trail amid difficult terrain and weather, at least three sources in the defence establishment told ThePrint.

In the hand-to-hand fight, all five terrorists were killed. One tried to escape, but was shot in the back while he was running away. His body was a found a few metres away from the combat spot.

However, the elite 4 Para unit of the Indian Army, which was also a part of the 2016 surgical strikes team, paid a heavy price for the victory — losing its entire team engaged in the operation. The body of one commando was found almost on top of a dead terrorist.

The slain personnel are Subedar Sanjeev Kumar, Havildar Davendra Singh, and paratroopers Bal Krishan, Amit Kumar and Chhatrapal Singh.

ThePrint spoke to sources to piece together the events that led to the operation, and what unfolded in Keran on the night of 4 April.

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When terrorists were spotted

The movement of the infiltrating terrorists was first picked in the Keran sector on 2 April.

“There was a ceasefire violation that took place on the intervening night of 1-2 April. Following this, our specialised radar picked up the movement of a group of terrorists that had sneaked into the Indian territory,” said a senior Army officer, who didn’t wish to be named.

Following this, efforts were made to proactively track the movement of the terrorists. This involved the use of drones as well.

The regular troops in the sector were alerted and patrolling and sighting was increased. Additional troops were also called in to make a cordon of sorts.

On 4 April, a decision was made to insert personnel of the 4 Para.

The Keran sector of the LoC comes under the elite unit’s operation. Heavy snow and a difficult terrain pushed the Army authorities to call in its Special Forces.

Different teams of the Para are stationed near the LoC and are brought in for special combat operations, or to deal with terrorists who sneak in and remain in hiding.

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The events of 4 April

According to the plan, two teams of the 4 Para were inducted into Jumgund area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara, where Keran is located, Saturday. On that day, the area had low visibility due to the snow in the forests.

Since intermittent exchange of fire between Indian soldiers and the terrorists had already taken place since 2 April, the location of the terror operatives had already been zeroed down to Zurhama forest area.

The Special Forces commandos began their operation in the day as Subedar Sanjeev Kumar spotted the footsteps of the terrorists in the snow and followed the trail.

However, the trail took them to a cornice — a mass of hardened snow at the edge of a mountain. As the soldiers stepped on it, it broke and three of them including Kumar, the squad leader, fell into a frozen nallah.

This was right where the terrorists were hiding. The fall took every one of them by surprise.

Within seconds, the area lit up with gun flashes as the terrorists opened fire. Complete details of what happened immediately after this weren’t revealed, but the three commandos were said to have fired back.

The two soldiers who had managed to evade the fall jumped in seeing the firefight.
In the close combat that ensued, four terrorists were shot dead. One managed to run for a few metres before being shot dead with a bullet to his back.

“Body of one of the commandos was found literally on top of a terrorist. So you can imagine how close the combat was,” said a second source who didn’t wish to be identified.

While three soldiers were killed in action on the spot, two others were injured.

The Army launched a massive rescue operation, but the weather and dense terrain proved a major hindrance. The injured soldiers were eventually evacuated Sunday but succumbed to their injuries at the Army hospital in Srinagar.

The bodies of the five terrorists were also recovered.

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  1. I’m so sad looking at the condition one side whole world is fighting against covid-19 and on the another side our defence team is fighting for us by risking their lives.. our Indian army commandos martyred their life for Indian soil..R.I.P and heartfelt condolences to their family.. I’m totally speechless right now… Feeling low looking at the situation of India. Please doing request to defence ministry. Make some changes four commandos are not enough for ten terrorist it must be 12 for Ten terrorist.. make sure security of our jawans even when they are on mission… jai Jawan jai hind

  2. What kind of training our Spl. Forces are getting? 4 terrorist for 4 Spl. Froces commandos. Ratio should be 1 or 2 commandos killing 4-5 terrorists. If these terrorists have managed to kill our 4 commandos, then what we can expect from normal army.

    I think reality is not as we r seeing it, our defence budget is not enough for special forces to make them SPECIAL , we can’t afford to lose our boys

    • Special forces success depends on intelligence report and perfect idea of the situation and terrain, Once small lapse things turn against you. Why they are called special force is because they fought with the terrorist even after their fall, they were injured still they fought and killed all…
      If you still doubt special forces please go and train them…

  3. I’m very sad 😭but I proud my Soldier’s 🙏🏻🙏🏻Kill him all Bloody Pakistani terrorists
    Pakistan 🇵🇰 mother fuker You will die

  4. Salute to our brave heroes and heartfelt condolences to their families. Army should reconsider it’s rules of engagement and counter insurgency operation methodology. Why in a such difficult terrain and inclement weather conditions such type of operation was done when you didn’t know the exact location of the terrorist. Why the combat helicopter, drones and radars (men and weapon locating) were not used. For casualty evacuation there should be a air ambulance or life support system fitted in a helicopter to provide immediate medical aid to the soldiers during such type of difficult operations. Government and Army should consider these points to save the precious life of our highly trained soldiers and moreover please provide them with best if the bullet proof jackets and ballistic helmets so that these casualties could be minimised.

  5. It’s “Martyred ” not “killed”… You idiot!!
    It seems this journalist has completely lost sanity..
    My salutes to the Brave sons of Indian Soil…. 🙏 🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳😔😔😔😔😔
    JAI HIND 🇮🇳

  6. Although very sad for the families but the performance of the Special Force was much below par……Is this the way to use special force to kills militants trapped in the snow??…..They were not fighting British SAS or Pakistani SSG for the most important mountain peak in Kashmir…they were used as a cannon fodder with no technological support…where were the back up Apache helicopters to blast away the militants. Both high level planning and close quarter tactics leave much to be desired !!!!

    • Special forces soldiers are highly skilled, but here the target was not known and three of the soldiers lost their lives immediately after the fall( they were surprised, imagine the situation , they didn’t even got time to stand up, they were not able to see anything and were shot.) and the rest two eliminated the 5 terrorists. So, if they would not had fallen into that ‘nallah’ they would have eliminated the terrorists with 0 casualty.

  7. Your should know how to develop a content or read it twice before publishing.

    First paragraph- Five commandos of the elite 4 Para were — “killed”—- in action after they eliminated 5 terrorists from Pakistan in close combat in J&K’s Keran sector.

    Killed are u serious dude. “#Martyred” is appropriate word over here.
    Gave better homage to them they are sacrificing there life for us.

    • Nothing wrong in mentioning “Killed” this is what forces all across the world use Killed in action or “down in battle” is the apt word. Please find the meaning of word “martyred”. It means dying for a religious purpose.

      • A martyr is one who suffers or make great sacrifices in order to further a belief , cause or principle.
        For ur kind info. Make ur definition accurate, to the point fellow guy.

      • Religion means way to live, not where u are born
        That’s why martyr term must be used

  8. Such a big website writing “killed” for our heroes. They were martyred, loosers like you get killed.

  9. I Salute the Iron Man’s of India .Pak will never learn .They dont have any Hearts ,Whole world is behaind the Corona Virus .They are not bothored about their own people .But very much interested about India.

  10. My heart goes out to the fallen and there families . The bravehearts of mother India . God give courage and strength to there families. Proud to be born an indian . 🙏🏻

  11. I salute the brave sons of Bharath Matha. As long as we have such brave sons, we have nothing to worry. My heartfelt condolences to the family of those who have been martyred. Government must be liberal with them just to show that we wont let down those who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of our Mother land. No amount of words will compensate their loss for the family. God bless them.
    Jai Hind, Vandhe Matharam,
    a k pattabiraman, Chennai

  12. The fallen and their families should be in our thoughts – a sobering reminder also for costs of all war especially special ops, which no amount of jingoistic Bollywood movie/Web series selling “cheap” patriotism to cheer leading masses can compensate.

    Lets put aside all this hand-to-hand nonsense – close quarter is not necessarily hand to hand, the reporter was not at the scene, neither were those briefing the media. The triple whammy of adverse terrain, climate and luck ensured that the odds were against the 4 Para SF men and the high casualty count reflects that. The inability to evacuate the injured or at least provide effective medical care at the site fits into a larger pattern of deficiencies that must be addressed on the CASEVAC/trauma care side. Improving equipment, training and tactics to mitigate the high risks of such ops is paying true homage to the brave. Piggybacking on their sacrifice to pander to readers perceptions of “bravery” and “combat” will only lead to more losses.

  13. This is bravery and courage of the highest order. Why hasn’t it been given wide coverage?The PM should make a special mention, they definitely deserve the Ashok Chakra

  14. Salute to bravery. We have paid huge price in this operation as we know what requires to be a Paratrooper.
    Do they have night vision equipment ? If not, provide them earliest.

  15. Why not put an end to this terrorism by dismantling Pakistan and enforcing Indian law.

  16. Most soldiers are either Hindu Rajput or Hindu Jat. RIP to them. Why don’t our so called Muslim minority fight terrorists

    • What an idiotic thing to say, just goes on to say you don’t know anything about the Indian army, so just take your hate somewhere else idiot

    • You’re either a Paki trying to stir up trouble or an idiot, essentially the same thing actually! Indians are proud to be secular and Indians of ALL religions make this great land what it is! Such hateful divisive words only play in the hands of the enemy!

      • You may want to be secular or sickular, whatever not others. It is people like you who give free hand to Islamist terrorists as they feel their enemy is not motivated enough on religion. This is bloody religious war with Arabic religion and must be called out as such. No subterfuge in the name of farce secular drama. Rest composition of troops which I gave is fact

    • What kind of training our Spl. Forces are getting? 4 terrorist for 4 Spl. Froces commandos. Ratio should be 1 or 2 commandos killing 4-5 terrorists. If these terrorists have managed to kill our 4 commandos, then what we can expect from normal army.

      I think reality is not as we r seeing it, our defence budget is not enough for special forces to make them SPECIAL , we can’t afford to lose our boys

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