Mumbai/Pune: A 29-year-old Army Major from Thane was among four soldiers martyred during an operation in which they foiled an infiltration bid in Gurez area of North Kashmir, gunning down two out of eight infiltrators.
Major Kaustubh Rane was a resident of Mira Road. The only son of his parents, Prakash and Jyoti, the news reached them early in the morning when they were planning to go to their native place in Konkan.
The family lived in Hiral Sagar building in Sheetal Nagar locality of Mira Road since last 30 years. Kaustubh wanted to join the Army since school days. He had studied at Holy Cross School.
His neighbours recalled him as a soft spoken and jovial person who stopped by to speak to even his acquaintances.
Kaustubh had completed six years in the Army and had been promoted to a Major in January.
He was from Garhal Rifles, currently serving with 36 Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir.
He has left behind wife Kanika and two-and-a-half year old son who are in their native town in Konkan and are expected to reach Mira Road soon.
Gunfight during infiltration bid
Army officials said that there was an intelligence input about an infiltration bid by eight terrorists in Bagtore area of Gurez.
Four infiltrators managed to return to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), while two others were believed to have been injured and hiding in the dense forest around the region.
An Army team led by Major Rane laid a siege of the area during the night, but were fired upon by the terrorists who had positioned themselves comfortably in the cover of darkness.
In the encounter, Major Rane and three other soldiers were martyred in the firing. Two of the infiltrating militants were gunned down in the encounter which took place near Govind Nallah of Gurez, which falls in the Bandipore district of North Kashmir, Army said.
Besides Major Rane, others who fell in the line of duty were 26-year-old riflemen Mandeep Singh Rawat, hailing from Kotdwar in Uttrakhand, Hameer Singh hailing from Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand who would have turned 28 on this Independence Day and 25-year-old gunner Vikram Jeet Singh from Tepla village of Ambala district in Haryana. The operation was continuing, Army officials said. (With PTI inputs)