While We Obsess Over Aamir Khan, Colonel Natt Fights for His Life

Lt Col KS Natt was shot on the face in a gunfight in the same area where Col Mahadik was martyred days earlier.

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Indian Army soldiers during an operation in Jammu & Kashmir. (Photo: Reuters)

India has once again chosen to go berserk over controversial statements made by a celebrity. Support and criticism for Aamir Khan are splattered all over our social media newsfeeds.

Amid this controversy, a Lieutenant Colonel’s fight for his life is going unnoticed. On 22 November, a gun battle ensued in Manigah forests of Kupwara district, Jammu & Kashmir and Lt Col KS Natt of 160 Territorial Army was shot in the face.

Lt Col KS Natt was injured when militants opened indiscriminate fire in the forest area where Commanding Officer of Army’s elite unit Col Santosh Mahadik was killed in a gunfight five days ago.

One of our officers has been injured in the gunfight and the operation to flush out militants is under way... The injured officer has been removed to the Kupwara military hospital.
Col NN Joshi, Spokesperson, Indian Army

Sources said Lt Col KS Natt was heading a small team of army men to comb the area at the time of the incident. “The officer was hit on the jaw,” sources said. Poor visibility and tough terrain hampered the operations in the dense forest area, they said.

Lt Col KS Natt. (Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1727607197300923&amp;set=a.193223210739337.48942.100001549779761&amp;type=3&amp;permPage=1">Yash Sharma’s Facebook post</a>)
Lt Col KS Natt. (Photo: Yash Sharma’s Facebook post)

A combing operation has been going on for the past 10 days in Haihama, Kupwara, around 120 km from Srinagar, which is a joint operation between the army, police and special forces. The security forces have been combing more than 3sqkm of forest area since November 13 to flush out a heavily armed group of three-to-five Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, who are reportedly hiding in the area.

The group of militants is believed to have infiltrated the region around three weeks ago and was intercepted by the army in the second tier of the counter-infiltration (CI) grid. One member of the militant group had died, allegedly due to hypothermia, and his body was found near the Kumkadi forest area, close to the Line of Control (LoC). An assault rifle and a wireless set were found near the militant’s body.

Since the operation began, there have been four brief encounters with the hiding militants so far – the last on November 22. The militants have each time managed to flee after brief gunfights. Colonel Mahadik was martyred in the area and Lt Col KS Natt, along with four soldiers, has been injured in the operation so far.

Another massive combing operation has been launched in neighbouring Handwara forest in the same district. A brief gunfight took place in the area on November 21. The combing operation was under way in Bawan Rajwar after a joint party of the army and the police intercepted a group of heavily armed militants.

Perhaps the people need to introspect on whether they wish to spend time calling Aamir Khan anti-national or praying for a patriot who is fighting for his life.

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