Floral tributes were paid here  to Colonel M N Rai who was killed in a gunbattle with guerrillas in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Tuesday.

Officers and family members paid their last respects and laid wreaths on the martyred officer's body at a cremation ground in Delhi Cantt area.

Colonel Rai, 39, had been awarded the Yudh Seva Medal for gallantry in this year's Republic Day. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a five-year old son.

On Wednesday, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh  praised Colonel M N Rai, saying the young officer had set an example of leadership for others.   

"He was a very brave officer and he had been awarded Yudh Seva Medal on January 26. And it is an example of leadership that the moment he got information about two terrorists in that area, he immediately went in with his QRT and some other people," General Singh said.

Speaking to reporters here, the Army Chief said it was unfortunate that the officer was hit by bullets.

"I must say it was a very very brave act and also indicates that our Army officers lead men from the front," he said.

Rai, 39, Commanding Officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, and Head Constable Sanjeev Kumar Singh from Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed during the encounter in Tral in Pulawama district on Tuesday, in which two militants were also gunned down.

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