On the morning of February 13, 2018, CRPF Assistant Commandant Naresh Kumar landed at Srinagar airport and went straight to the officer handling airport security. He handed the officer, Assistant Commandant Sheetal Rawat, a nicely wrapped gift with a bouquet and told her that if he didn’t return by the evening, she should consider it an early Valentine’s Day present. Kumar, the head of CRPF’s crack commando unit Quick Action Team (QAT) in Kashmir, had been called from Delhi to meet an emergency.
Two days after the Sunjuwan camp attack, where six soldiers had been killed, the CRPF’s Karan Nagar camp had come under attack. The terrorists were holed up in an abandoned building and the operation had raged on for 24 hours. Kumar knew his life was on the line. Rawat, his wife, did not bat an eyelid and sent him off. In a short operational career of four years, Kumar has won six police medals for gallantry (PMG), the sixth one awarded this Republic Day.
In the Karan Nagar encounter, when hours of gunfight did not yield results, Kumar formed a six-member team and stormed the building, killing the lone surviving militant inside.