Following the harrowing Handwara encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district on 2 May 2020, in which five security personnel lost their lives, the National Defence Academy (NDA), the premier tri-services institution organised a wreath-laying ceremony at the Hut of Remembrance, in memory of Major Anuj Sood, an alumnus of the famed pre-commission training academy.
Maj. Sood was one of the Rashtriya Rifles officers who laid down his life in the line of duty during the counter-insurgency operations (CI Ops) in Handwara on Saturday. The NDA held a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of the young company commander who had passed out of the renowned institution in 2011.
Speaking about the proceeding of the ceremony, the NDA spokesperson said, "Commandant NDA, Lieutenant General Asit Mistry, AVSM, SM, VSM, had on behalf of the officers and the NDA fraternity paid homage to the fallen brave heart in this solemn ceremony."
Maj. Sood was a second-generation army officer who had graduated from the 120th course NDA and was subsequently commissioned into the 19th Battalion of the Brigade of the Guards, one of the most decorated infantry regiments of the Indian Army. The major was serving on deputation with the 21 RR in the Kupwara sector where he was tasked to be a part of a joint operation with the J&K police.
Maj Sood, along with Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, (the commanding officer of 21 RR), Naik Rajesh Kumar and Lance Naik Dinesh from the 21 RR team were killed in action. Sub-Inspector Shakeel Qazi of the J&K police also lost his life during the operation.
Speaking about Maj Sood's act of gallantry the NDA spokesperson said, "Demonstrating unparalleled courage and exceptional devotion to duty while making the supreme sacrifice, Maj Anuj Sood has lived up to the motto of NDA' Service Before Self'. Today as his name gets etched in the four walls of sanctum sanctorum of Hut of Remembrance, his martyrdom will continue to inspire future generations of NDA cadets."
The 'Hut of Remembrance' at the NDA is a sublime cenotaph that commemorates the sacrifice of ex-NDA officers of the tri-services who lay down their lives in the line of duty.