A gun battle in Jammu & Kashmir's Handwara resulted in the unfortunate demise of 4 armymen and a police sub-inspector yesterday.
One of them was Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, the commanding officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles who had served the nation for more than 2 decades.
In a heartbreaking interview, his elder brother Piyush Sharma told Hindustan Times about colonel's final visit home on Holi last year:
He came unannounced around 7:30 PM on the day holika is burnt and gave us a pleasant surprise. We had a blast the next day.
Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit lost his life in an encounter yesterday with terrorists in Handwara area of Jammu and Kashmir. He had been part of several successful counter-terrorist operations in the past. pic.twitter.com/0buVlo9shj— ANI (@ANI) May 3, 2020
The last conversation between the family and Colonel Sharma happened on May 1, when he told them that his unit was not able to celebrate the raising day 21 RR due to the ongoing pandemic.
Pallavi Ashutosh, wife of Col. Ashutosh Sharma says, ‘He used to say: एक बर आतंकवादी को मार दून, अगले दिन घर आ जाउंगा| Heis keeping his promise. He will come home tomorrow but wrapped in a tricolour.’ #Respect— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) May 3, 2020
Piyush added that his brother, father of a 12-year-old, was very 'passionate about the Army'.
He was a brave soldier. He talked, dreamt and lived the Army. He took pride in sharing glory of his unit (19 Guards Mechanised Infantry) and its traditions.
Col Ashutosh Sharma— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) May 3, 2020
Major Anuj Sood
Lance Naik Dinesh Singh
Naik Rajesh Kumar
Sub-Inspector Shakeel Qazi
We are with our families. But you left yours to never return. We will never forget your sacrifice. We will never forgive those responsible for your deaths.