He had just finished distributing Shivratri Prasaad of walnuts amongst his colleagues. Suraj Bhan a member of the Special Operation Group (SOG) had returned to join his duties on 17th February after celebrating Shivratri, with his family at Udhampur. He was still in a 'festive mood', when at 11:30 AM the same day, he received orders to join the security contingent for a combing operation in Ganderbal.
The contingent comprising of around 40 security personnel drawn from CRPF, Army and SOG rushed to Kharbagh Sumbal area of Ganderbal. They reached the assigned place at 2:30 PM. Kharbagh village was wearing deserted look-a clear signal of an impending trouble. Villagers had fleed the village, expecting a security operation, as large number of dreaded terrorists had sneaked into the village.
Initial search operations revealed nothing. However, inspector PV Singh and Suraj Bhan where not sure ofthese initial conclusions. They suspected the near by house to be a hideout and forced their way into house. Both got killed as they were climbing the third story, in the indiscriminate firing resorted to by the holed up terrorists hiding behind the haystack on the third storey of the house. In the counter offensive by security forces the house caught fire. However, most of the holed up terrorists are reported to have escaped. As per sources the escaped terrorists included those who had participated in the Wandhama massacre of Kashmiri Pandits last year.
During the heavy exchange of fire, two constables of CRPF 28 Bn and 3 Army personnel also got killed in addition to Suraj Bhan and PV Singh of SOG, Srinagar. As per reports, when two of the holed up terrorists tried to escape and succeeded to reach the willow plantation beat near the embankment of river Jhelum, Naik Narain Das of 15 Assam Regiment chased them and killed both of them. In the retaliatory firing Narain Das also got martyred. Heart rending scenes were witnessed in the Shamshan Ghat at Devika Udhampur where the funeral of Suraj Bhan took place. The wooden coffin carrying the dead body was also consigned to flames on the funeral pyre by his family members who thought that the box had become a part of the mortal remains of Late Suraj.
Inspector Ravinder Bhat under whom Suraj worked was taken aback when one of the brothers of Suraj asked him immediately after the funeral rites.' Inspector tell us honestly. Which type of death Suraj died-a Cowards or a martyrs'. In an emotion choked voice he told his family members that for the answer they needed only to see his file. 'Even while he has not yet completed his two years probation his name is being considered for a police medal for his services.'
Constable Suraj Bhan had to his credit four major security operations. At Kamarwari sometime back Suraj had participated with distinction in a daredevil operation in which five foreign mercenaries and two local terrorists were killed. In other operation deputy supreme commander of Harkatul Mujahideen Saif-ullah Chikhat code named 'Hafat' was killed by constable Suraj earlier. In another daredevil operation Suraj Bhan had arrested the deputy supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Ali Mohd Dar. Police sources also revealed that in a major security operation Suraj alongwith other constable of SOG had killed two Lashkar-i-Toiba terrorists at Bemina which also resulted in capture of lot of arms and ammunition. Both these martyred police personnel from SOG Srinagar, have a distinguished family background. Dy SP Anantnag Mr KT Singh is the brother of inspector Param Vir Singh who got martyred alongwith Suraj Bhan at Kharbagh Sumbal. While mortal remains of PV Singh were yet to be consigned to flames who had died at Kharbagh , KT Singh was busy leading another operation at Wuter Hall the very next day. During this search operation a fierce exchange of fire took place in which 3 terrorist of Hizbul Mujahideen were killed. Late Suraj Bhan also belongs to a family of police personnel. His father Jamna Das Bhan is a retired fire-services officer. His elder brother Himmet Bhan is employed with the Railway Crime Police and his younger brother Vijay Bhan has just joined police services.
The father of Suraj Bhan Sh Jamna Das is a tall and tough persons. 'I know he has died a lion's death and it is a matter of pride for me inspite of the blow which his death has inflected on us'. Suraj Bhan was just 22. He had joined the police services and volunteered for Special Operations Group. His family did not know that he was working with SOG. And that is the only remorse his father had. 'I never thought that he was involved in such operations. I wish I could have given him a salute when he was alive'.
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