Major Sood had cleared IIT JEE exam, but chose army, this is the story of a martyr

In one of the deadliest operations seen in North Kashmir, two terrorists were killed in heavy fire and shelling, but unfortunately, five security personnel were also martyred. One of the five security personnel who attained martyrdom while fighting terrorists in Chanjumullah area of Handwara in Kupwara, North Kashmir was Major Anuj Sood.

30-year-old Major Sood lost his life while protecting civilians in the village. He is survived by his family which includes his wife who married him recently. Apart from Major Sood, four other personnel, including Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Naik Rajesh, Lance Naik Dinesh, and J&K Sub-inspector Shakeel Qazi also sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country in the Handwara encounter.

The incident took place on 2nd May 2020, at around 3:30 PM in Kupwara, North Kashmir when the army and police stormed a house where rebels were holding hostages. Two terrorists, including top Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Haider were gunned down by the security forces at the end of the operation. The identity of other terrorist is yet to be ascertained.

Major Sood and four other soldiers lost their lives during the rescue operation that lasted for 15 hours. Martyr Sood, who was the company commander, was mourned in Dharamsala. This is the first time since 2015 that a commanding officer has been lost in an encounter in Kashmir.

Let’s take a look at Major Anuj Sood:

Major Sood was born on 17 December 1989 in Bangalore where his father was posted at that time. After his school education, he had cleared the IIT JEE exam but preferred to join NDA as he dreamt of becoming an Army officer. He topped all classes in PPS Nabha. He was the NDA Torch holder for all the six terms which is a unique distinction. He also did his M. Tech from IISc Bangalore and topped with distinction.

It has been learnt that Anuj Sood had already made up his mind to join the Army. He was very clear about his aim which helped him clear the NDA exam when he was in Class 12. Major Anuj Sood received several accolades for his exemplary work in counter-terrorist missions.

Maj Sood was among the five security personnel who were killed in an encounter with militants in Jammu Kashmir’s Handwara on Sunday. His father Brigadier Chandrakant Sood (retd) said, “He has made a supreme sacrifice for saving lives of others. And that’s what he was trained for. I feel a little sad for his wife as he had to move for operations after just three-four months of his marriage in 2017”. 

He joined the Army seven years ago. He was married to Akriti Singh, a software engineer, in September 2017. The couple tied the knot few months back. Last time, Akriti had a word with her husband on WhatsApp at 2 am when he was leading the team during the operation and he said that he was fine and the operation was going on well against the militants.

The operation was successful as all civilians were safely rescued. However, unfortunately, the Indian army lost five soldiers which is a huge loss for the country. According to reports, there were a total number of four terrorists, out of which two managed to escape and two were killed by security personnel.

Anuj was expected to come on leave on March 22 but due to nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but he could not come. The last rites were performed with full state honours.

CDS Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said, “The operations highlight the determination of the security forces to safeguard the lives of the people. Commanding Officer leading from the front along with other personnel of the unit and J&K Police have laid down their lives, living up to the motto; Service Before Self.”

Meanwhile, Major Anuj Sood’s caption from a post on Instagram, will surely fill you with inspiration. Sood had written, “When you’re older, you will realise the only thing that matters, the only thing, is that you had courage and honour. Lose those things and you won’t die any quicker, but you’ll be less than the dirt from your boots. You’ll still be dust, but you’ll have wasted a short time in the light.”

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.