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Memorial to Shaitan Singh & his men’s last stand at Rezang La gathers dust

REWARI (HARYANA), JUNE 8: Great battles in India are for the history books and memorials, once erected with great fanfare, are left to gather dust. At least, this is what you get to see in this Haryana town where very few seem to know what happened to its Ahir soldiers at Rezang La.

Rare in military history. That’s how official records continue to describe the battle of Rezang La in Chushul, Ladakh, on November 18, 1962. It was the last stand of 13 Kumaon’s Charlie Company: of its 118 men, 114 died defending the frontier against waves of Chinese attacks.



Major Shaitan Singh, who fought till the very end, was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously. Others with him were honoured with four Vir Chakras, four Sena Medals.

But here in Rewari, not many seem to know even about the existence of the memorial. To them, Rewari is home only to the National Cadet Corps. Most people here will tell you that this town has nothing to do with the Army. Not even when you remind them that every November 18, the Rezang La Shaurya Samiti conducts a ceremony to remember its heroes.

The memorial compound, located near the dusty tributary of NH-8 that bisects Rewari, is locked. There’s no sign of the chowkidar. The central structure is crowned by a finger holding the Sudarshan Chakra—the Ahirs maintain they are descendants of Krishna. But wild grass threatens the plaque, dedicated to the memory of the men who died at Chushul.

The Chinese, who embarked on a two-pronged attack to secure Chushul, struck after overrunning all Indian posts north of it.

Without any warning, 13 Kumaon’s three companies—Major Shaitan Singh’s Charlie company was at Rezang La—came under heavy artillery fire. Magar Hill was manned by A and B companies, both artillery positions.

Major Singh held a 2-km frontline with 118 men. But there was no artillery cover or mine protection to stop the huge Chinese advance.

The spot’s remoteness from Gurung Hill and Magar Hill also precluded the possibility of assistance. From the very beginning, Singh’s mission was doomed to failure.

With an advancing Chinese MMG unit mowing down Singh’s soldiers by the tens, one of his men, Naik Sahi Ram, managed to drop more than a hundred Chinese soldiers who had grouped to overrun the platoon. But when Singh embarked on a recovery operation, he was felled by a sniping MMG attack that tore a hole in his back. Compelling his rescuers to abandon him and flee, the injured Major froze to death during the night.

But their brave stand had turned the tide. The 114 Brigade, commanded by Brig TN Raina (who later became Army chief), never faced the expected next attack. The ceasefire came on November 21, 1962. For the 114 Ahir soldiers killed at Rezang La, the Chinese Army lost more than 1,000 troops

Narayanan’s favourite falls to terrorists bullets in J&K

A strange coincidence it is. Even as former President K R Narayanan was cremated on Thursday evening in New Delhi, at distant Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, his “most favourite” AsDC Major Gopi Singh fell to terrorists bullets.

Thirty-five-year-old Gopi was in tears when he came to know that Narayanan was no more. He spoke to his friend S N Sahu, director Prime Minister’s Office, who was formerly press secretary to Narayanan. Gopi expressed his desire to come to Delhi to attend his former boss’s funeral.

Gopi Singh Rathore was a rare phenomenon, a rare blend – an army officer , a poet and a man with an extraordinarily sensitive mind, said Sahu.

But fate had other plans. Gopi was not granted leave to attend the cremation, and instead, his Commanding Officer asked him to flush out terrorists holed up in a building at Bandipore. The building was locked from outside and Major Gopi Singh fired at the lock to open it. But in the ambush a militant fired at his face and the major died instantaneously.

Sahu, who worked with Narayanan for 13 years and knew Gopi Singh well during his stint in Rashtrapati Bhavan as AsDC, said Singh was “profoundly” mature for his age. He room was full of books – on literature, horticulture and military strategy.

The unmarried Gopi Singh was a brilliant army officer and was one of the most favourite AsDCs of both Narayanan and First Lady Usha Narayanan. He also served President A P J Abdul Kalam for four months.

“Apart from being an excellent army officer, he had a passion for literature and literary work, read extensively, wrote poetry and had a fine and sensitive approach to life. His first collection of poems had been published in 2002 and President Kalam had received the first copy of the publication in the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” Sahu told DNA.

Apart from his duty as AsDC, he also looked after the Moghul Gardens and had indepth knowledge about plants and flowers in the gardens. “Once when President Narayanan heard him explaining to a foreign dignitary about the history of a plant and giving botanical details about it, he expressed his happiness and commented “Gopi you should have been a horticulturist.”

Sahu said when he came to Delhi a few months back he revealed that he was reading Quran and trying to understand the great Islamic religion.
 

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CAPTAIN MANOJ PANDEY




Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC (25 June 1975, Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh - 2/3 July 1999, Kashmir),was an officer of the Indian Army of the regiment 1/11 Gurkha Rifles, posthumously awarded the India's highest military honour, Param Vir Chakra for his audacious courage and leadership during adverse times. He died during the attack on Jubar Top, Khalubar Hills in Batalik Sector, Kargil

The citation for the Param Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:
LIEUTENANT MANOJ KUMAR PANDEY
1/11 Gorkha Rifles (IC 56959W)


Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Panday took part in a series of boldly led attacks during ‘operation Vijay; forcing back the intruders with heavy losses in Batalik including the capture of Jabbar Top. On the night of 2/3 July 1999 during the advance to Khalubar as his platoon approached its final objective, it came under heavy and intense enemy fire from the surrounding heights. Lieutenant Pandey was tasked to clear the interfering enemy positions to prevent his battalion from getting day lighted, being in a vulnerable position. He quickly moved his platoon to an advantageous position under intense enemy fire, sent one section to clear the enemy positions from the right and himself proceeded to clear the enemy positions from the left. Fearlessly assaulting the first enemy position, he killed two enemy personnel and destroyed the second position by killing two more. He was injured on the shoulder and legs while clearing the third position. Undaunted and without caring for his grievous injuries, he continued to lead the assault on the fourth position urging his men and destroyed the same with a grenade, even as he got a fatal burst on his forehead. This singular daredevil act of Lieutenant Pandey provided the critical firm base for the companies, which finally led to capture of Khalubar. The officer, however, succumbed to his injuries.

Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey, thus, displayed most conspicuous bravery, indomitable courage, outstanding leadership and devotion to duty and made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.

AJAY DEVGAN played his role in movie LOC
 
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The soldier who won India's first Param Vir Chakra








Lately many pleas have been made that Mohammed Afzal Guru's execution should be stayed because his death 'could fuel separatism in Jammu & Kashmir.'

The state chief minister himself has been an ardent advocate for clemency for the terrorist who attacked the Indian Parliament in December 2001 (and nearly provoked a war between India and Pakistan).

Major Somnath SharmaThe 'secular' protagonists claim that his execution will make a martyr of Afzal. I will not enter into these fallacious arguments, but the time has perhaps come to remember a true martyr: Major Somnath Sharma who on November 3, 1947 saved Srinagar airport (and Kashmir) at the supreme cost of his life.

Had he not sacrificed his life, Afzal's defenders would not today make front page news in the Indian press, for the simple reason that they would be Pakistani citizens living under a military dictatorship.

Our story starts during in the early days of October 1947 when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru received a message from a former deputy commissioner of Dera Ismail Khan [one of the province's main districts] in the North West Frontier Province.

The bureaucrat warned of 'a scheme to send armed tribals from Pakistan to the Pakistan-Kashmir border; some of them had already moved towards the area in transport provided by the Pakistan government. Arms confiscated from non-Muslims had been supplied to these tribals.'

As Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir was reluctant to sign the Instrument of Accession to India, Nehru refused to take any action. Two weeks later a large contingent of Afridis, Mahsuds, Wazirs, Swathis and regular soldiers of the Pakistan army 'in mufti' began to enter Kashmir.

During the night of October 22, the 'raiders' burnt the town of Muzaffarabad. They then overran Uri and captured Mahura, the electric power station, fifty miles from Srinagar. The city of Srinagar was plunged in darkness.

In these dramatic circumstances, V P Menon, Sardar Patel's faithful collaborator, went to Jammu and got Hari Singh's signature on the printed Accession Form. He rushed back for the historic meeting in Delhi with India's governor general, Lord Mountbatten in the chair.

A young army colonel named Sam Manekshaw, who attended the meeting, recalled: 'As usual Nehru talked about the United Nations, Russia, Africa, God Almighty, everybody, until Sardar Patel lost his temper. He said, 'Jawaharlal, do you want Kashmir, or do you want to give it away?' He [Nehru] said, 'Of course, I want Kashmir.' Then he [Patel] said: 'Please give your orders.'

Everything then moved very fast. Early the next morning, the first troops and equipment were airlifted from Palam airport [in Delhi] to Srinagar. A young major was sent on his first assignment to Kashmir. He was responsible for the logistic. His name was S K Sinha (today the governor of Jammu and Kashmir).

He later wrote about the first Indian jawans reaching Srinagar: 'It was indeed inspiring to see grim determination writ large on their faces. They were all determined to do their best, no matter what handicap they had to contend with. I had never before seen such enthusiasm and fervour for duty.'

They knew that all eyes in India were focused on them. At Srinagar airfield, just before returning to Delhi, Sinha met an old friend, Major Somnath Sharma of 4 Kumaon. He had come a day earlier from Delhi with a broken arm.

Sinha found him 'rather disgusted with life.' With his 'wretched hand in plaster,' no one would give him 'an active assignment in Delhi.'

His company had now been posted to Kashmir, but he was looking to be relieved soon from his present job and given 'something really active.' His company's duty was 'only' to protect the airport.

Sinha tried to impress on Somnath 'the vital importance of the airfield to us and in that context the importance of the task The Reconnaiassance by companies of 1 and 4 Kumaon, 3 November, 1947assigned to him,' but says the governor this 'sermonising could do little to fulfill his desire for being sent further forward.'

After spending an hour discussing and sipping a mug of tea reclining on his kitbag, Sinha left for Delhi. 'Little did I then know that within the next forty-eight hours, he was to die a hero's death and earn great renown, fighting most gallantly in very close proximity to where we then lay talking so leisurely.'

But let us spend a moment on Somnath Sharma's life.

He was born as the eldest son of an army family. His father General A N Sharma, who retired as the first director general of the Armed Medical Services after Independence, was often in non-family postings.

Som, as his friends and family called him, used to spend time with his maternal grandfather Pandit Daulat Ram in Srinagar. His favourite pastime was listening to his grandfather's on the Bhagavad Gita. This influence of Krishna's teachings to Arjun were to remain with Somnath till his last breath.

At the age of 10, Som enrolled at the Prince of Wales Royal Military College in Dehra Dun and later joined the Royal Indian Military Academy. As a young lieutenant, he chose to join the 8/19 Hyderabad Infantry Regiment.

His maternal uncle Captain Krishna Dutt Vasudeva who belonged to this regiment had died defending a bridge on the River Slim in Malaya against the Japanese. His bravery had made it possible for hundreds of his jawans to cross over to safety. The example of his uncle greatly influenced him during his career.

Somnath fought in World War II under Colonel K S Thimmayya (later the army chief) in Burma with the British Army. An anecdote speaks tellingly about the character of the young officer.

One day, Sharma's orderly Bahadur was badly wounded in action and was unable to return to the camp. Sharma lifted Bahadur on his shoulders and began walking. When Thimmayya found his officer lagging behind under the weight of his orderly, he ordered him -- 'Leave this man, Som and rush back to the camp.'

Somnath retorted, 'Sir, it is my own orderly that I am carrying; he is badly wounded and bleeding, l will not leave him behind.' He eventually managed to carry Bahadur back, saving his life. He was awarded a 'Mention in Dispatch' for this act of bravery.

After the Japanese surrender in Kuala Lumpur in September 1945, Somnath returned from Malaya via Calcutta. Before landing, a small incident occurred when the British Military Police came aboard to check for contraband.

Som had an unauthorised pistol unofficially presented to him by some Japanese officer in addition to a Samurai sword (officially allotted to each officer). Somnath refused to lie or invent a story to bluff the British officer, he immediately threw the pistol into the sea through a porthole. Such was his straightforwardness!

Two years later, India became independent, but fell prey to mad communal fighting. With his Kumaonis, Somnath was dispatched to aid the civil administration. From his headquarters at Parliament Street police station, he spent his time extinguishing fires between the two communities -- both well armed.

To complicate the matter, streams of refugees were pouring in wave after wave to the capital. The Kumaon Regiment rose to the occasion, doing their duty honestly and impartially towards both communities. At that time, Somnath was moving around with his broken arm and a plaster from the wrist to the elbow.

When his company was ordered to move to Srinagar, Somnath, though technically 'unfit for active duty in war' insisted that he had to lead his company.

Before leaving for Srinagar, he spent his last night in Delhi with Major K K Tewari, his best friend and Burma companion, at the Queen Victoria Road bachelor Officers' Mess in Delhi.

They chatted late into the night. Somnath remarked at one point that he was going to war again but alone this time (without his friend). Having probably some premonition, he asked for a memento from Tewari who told him that he could take whatever he wanted from the room. Somnath went straight to the cupboard and took his automatic pistol, a German Luger. Quite upset, Tewari had no choice but to honour his promise.

The next morning Somnath Sharma landed in Srinagar (where he met S K Sinha). The situation was fast deteriorating.

Two days later on November 3, the 'raiders' reached Badgam a few miles away from the Srinagar airfield. Brigadier 'Bogey' Sen, the commander in Srinagar, immediately dispatched Sharma and his company to Badgam.

At 2:30 pm, supported by 3-inch and 2-inch mortars, a 700-strong tribal force attacked the Indian jawans. Being outnumbered by 7 to 1, Sharma immediately sent a request to Brigadier Sen for reinforcements.

He knew that if the enemy advanced any further, the airport would be lost and Kashmir would become a province of Pakistan; the airfield was the only lifeline between the Valley and the rest of India.

His last wireless message to the headquarters stated: 'The enemy are only 50 yards from us. We are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire. I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to the last man and the last round.'

Soon after, Somnath Sharma was killed by a mortar.



By the evening, when reinforcement reached Badgam; it was too late. The Kumaonis had suffered over 50 per cent casualties though they had inflicted much heavier losses to the 'raiders' who lost 200 men and the airport and Kashmir.

Major Somnath Sharma was awarded the first Param Vir Chakra, the highest Indian gallantry award (the Indian equivalent of Param Veer Chakra medalthe Victoria Cross).

The citation read: 'Keeping his nerve, he skillfully directed the fire of his section into the ever-advancing enemy. He repeatedly exposed himself to the full fury of enemy fire and laid out cloth airstrips to guide our aircraft onto their targets in full view of the enemy. His leadership, gallantry and tenacious defence were such that his men were inspired to fight the enemy outnumbering them. Major Sharma set an example of courage and qualities seldom equaled in the history of the Indian Army.'

Three days later, Sharma's body was recovered. Though mutilated beyond recognition, a few pages of the Gita that he always kept in his breast pocket and the empty leather holster of Tewari's pistol helped to identify the body. The pistol was gone.

During the last chat with his friend before flying to Kashmir, Somnath had joked that either he would die and win the Victoria Cross or become the army chief. It is his younger brother V N Sharma who in 1988 became chief of army staff.

Today, the world has gone topsy-turvy: true heroes are forgotten and terrorists become martyrs.




___________________________________________________________________________________








rediff.com Indian Heroes Special: Saluting our bravehearts
 

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CAPTAIN VIKRAM BATRA



Captain Vikram Batra PVC (September 9, 1974 – July 7, 1999) was an officer of the Indian Army, posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra,[1] India's highest award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Param Vir Chakra


Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor on 15 August 1999, the 52nd anniversary of India's independence. His father Mr. G.L. Batra received the honor for his deceased son from the President of India, the late K.R. Narayanan.[1]

Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, and his Delta Company was given the task of recapturing Point 5140. Nicknamed Sher Shah ('Lion King' in Urdu/Hindi) for his unstinting courage, he decided to lead the rear, as an element of surprise would help stupefy the enemy. He and his men ascended the sheer rock-cliff, but as the group neared the top, the enemy pinned them on the face of the bare cliff with machine gun fire. Captain Batra, along with five of his men, climbed up regardless and after reaching the top, hurled two grenades at the machine gun post. He single-handedly killed three enemy soldiers in close combat. He was seriously injured during this, but insisted on regrouping his men to continue with the mission. Inspired by the courage displayed by Captain Batra, the soldiers of 13 JAK Rifles charged the enemy position and captured Point 5140 at 3:30 a.m. on 20 June 1999. His company is credited with killing at least eight Pakistani soldiers and recovering a heavy machine gun.[2]

The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes, such as Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and Three Pimples. Along with fellow Captain Anuj Nayyar, Batra led his men to victory with the recapture of Point 4750 and Point 4875. He was killed when he tried to rescue an injured officer during an enemy counterattack against Point 4875 in the early morning hours of 7 July 1999. His last words were, "Jai Mata Di." (which means in Punjabi 'Hail to thee, the Divine Mother'). For his sustained display of the most conspicuous personal bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy, Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.[3]
Quotes

Batra's last words were the battle-cry "Jai Mata Di!" ("Victory to the Mother (Durga!)" in Sanskrit)

Batra's Yeh Dil Maange More! (My heart asks for more!), erstwhile a popular slogan for a Pepsi commercial, became an iconic battle cry that swept across the country and remains popular with millions of Indians, invoked at patriotic public events, in memory of the war and the soldiers, and as a symbol of the indomitable spirit of Indian patriotism and valor in face of future attacks.
Upon reaching Point 5140, he got into a cheeky radio exchange with an enemy commander, who challenged him by saying, "Why have you come Sher Shah (Vikram’s nick name given by his commanding officer)? You will not go back." Captain Vikram Batra is said to have replied, "We shall see within one hour, who remains on the top."
While dragging Lt. Naveen back under cover, Naveen pleaded to Captain Batra to let him continue the fight in spite the injuries to which Captain Batra replied "Tu baal bachedaar hai!! Hatt jaa peeche," ("You have kids and wife to look after! Get back!").
"Ya toh Tiranga lehrake awunga, ya fir Tirange mein lipta huwa awunga zaroor, lekin awunga" (Either I will come back after hoisting the Tricolour (Indian flag), or I will come back wrapped in it, but i will be back for sure).
"In reply to a Pakistani's taunt that they will leave Kashmir if the Indians give them Madhuri Dixit, a popular bollywood actress, Captain Batra gave him the reply, "Sorry, Madhuri is busy!". He then shot the taunter and said " From Madhuri,With love".

In film

The 2003 Hindi film LOC Kargil based on the entire Kargil conflict had Abhishek Bachchan.[4] playing the role of Captain Batra

CAPTAIN VIKRAM BATRA



Captain Vikram Batra PVC (September 9, 1974 – July 7, 1999) was an officer of the Indian Army, posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra,[1] India's highest award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Param Vir Chakra


Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor on 15 August 1999, the 52nd anniversary of India's independence. His father Mr. G.L. Batra received the honor for his deceased son from the President of India, the late K.R. Narayanan.[1]

Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, and his Delta Company was given the task of recapturing Point 5140. Nicknamed Sher Shah ('Lion King' in Urdu/Hindi) for his unstinting courage, he decided to lead the rear, as an element of surprise would help stupefy the enemy. He and his men ascended the sheer rock-cliff, but as the group neared the top, the enemy pinned them on the face of the bare cliff with machine gun fire. Captain Batra, along with five of his men, climbed up regardless and after reaching the top, hurled two grenades at the machine gun post. He single-handedly killed three enemy soldiers in close combat. He was seriously injured during this, but insisted on regrouping his men to continue with the mission. Inspired by the courage displayed by Captain Batra, the soldiers of 13 JAK Rifles charged the enemy position and captured Point 5140 at 3:30 a.m. on 20 June 1999. His company is credited with killing at least eight Pakistani soldiers and recovering a heavy machine gun.[2]

The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes, such as Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and Three Pimples. Along with fellow Captain Anuj Nayyar, Batra led his men to victory with the recapture of Point 4750 and Point 4875. He was killed when he tried to rescue an injured officer during an enemy counterattack against Point 4875 in the early morning hours of 7 July 1999. His last words were, "Jai Mata Di." (which means in Punjabi 'Hail to thee, the Divine Mother'). For his sustained display of the most conspicuous personal bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy, Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.[3]
Quotes

Batra's last words were the battle-cry "Jai Mata Di!" ("Victory to the Mother (Durga!)" in Sanskrit)

Batra's Yeh Dil Maange More! (My heart asks for more!), erstwhile a popular slogan for a Pepsi commercial, became an iconic battle cry that swept across the country and remains popular with millions of Indians, invoked at patriotic public events, in memory of the war and the soldiers, and as a symbol of the indomitable spirit of Indian patriotism and valor in face of future attacks.
Upon reaching Point 5140, he got into a cheeky radio exchange with an enemy commander, who challenged him by saying, "Why have you come Sher Shah (Vikram’s nick name given by his commanding officer)? You will not go back." Captain Vikram Batra is said to have replied, "We shall see within one hour, who remains on the top."
While dragging Lt. Naveen back under cover, Naveen pleaded to Captain Batra to let him continue the fight in spite the injuries to which Captain Batra replied "Tu baal bachedaar hai!! Hatt jaa peeche," ("You have kids and wife to look after! Get back!").
"Ya toh Tiranga lehrake awunga, ya fir Tirange mein lipta huwa awunga zaroor, lekin awunga" (Either I will come back after hoisting the Tricolour (Indian flag), or I will come back wrapped in it, but i will be back for sure).
"In reply to a Pakistani's taunt that they will leave Kashmir if the Indians give them Madhuri Dixit, a popular bollywood actress, Captain Batra gave him the reply, "Sorry, Madhuri is busy!". He then shot the taunter and said " From Madhuri,With love".

In film

The 2003 Hindi film LOC Kargil based on the entire Kargil conflict had Abhishek Bachchan.[4] playing the role of Captain Batra
 

scorpionx

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The real topgun of India Nirmal Jit Singh sekhon
Fg Offr Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon
18 Squadron 10877 F(P)

Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon was a pilot of a Folland Gnat detachment based at Srinagar for the air defence of the valley against Pakistani air attacks. In accordance with the international agreement dating back to 1948, no air defence aircraft were based at Sirinagar, until the outbreak of hostilities with Pakistan. Flying Officer Sekhon was, therefore, unfamiliar with the terrain and was not acclimatised to the altitude of Srinagar, especially with the bitter cold and biting winds of the Kashmir winter. Nevertheless, from the outset of the war, he and his colleagues fought successive waves of intruding Pakistani aircraft with valour and determination, maintaining the high reputation of the Folland Gnat aircraft. On 14 December 1971, Srinagar Airfield was attacked by a wave of six enemy Sabre aircraft. Flying Officer Sekhon was on readiness duty at the time. However, he could not take off at once because of the clouds of dust raised by another aircraft which had just taken off. By the time the runway was fit for take-off, no fewer than six enemy aircraft were overhead, and strafing of the airfield was in progress. Nevertheless, in spite of the mortal danger of attempting to take off during an attack, and in spite of the odds against him. Flying Officer Sekhon took off and immediately engaged a pair of the attacking Sabres. In the fight that followed, at tree top height, he all but held his own, but was eventually overcome by sheer weight of numbers. His aircraft crashed and he was killed. In thus, sacrificing himself for the defence of Srinagar, Flying Officer Sekhon achieved his object, for the enemy aircraft fled from the scene of the battle without pressing home their attack against the town and the airfield. The sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, flying skill and determination, above and beyond the call of duty, displayed by Flying Officer Sekhon in the face of certain death, set new heights to Air Force traditions.
Salute to the soil that produces such aces
 

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The story of arun khetrapal was the most inspiring one that guy had such a good leadership skill and unmatched bravery at the mere age of 21 man that guy should have been a youth icon but sadly most of our current generation youth won't even know who he is
 

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Brigadier Khawja Mohammad Naser to Brigadier M.L. Khetarpal :"It is regarding your son who is, of course, a national hero in India. However on that fateful day, your son and I were soldiers, unknown to one another, fighting for the respect and safety of our respective countries. I regret to tell you that your son died in my hands. Arun's courage was exemplary and he moved his tank with fearless courage and daring, totally unconcerned about his safety. Tank casualties were very high till finally there were just two of us left facing one another. We both fired simultaneously. It was destined that I was to live and he was to die."

When an enemy cherishes such a high regard of someone then must confess This kind of man comes once in a million i guess.

Welcome to 2nd Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal
 
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Day after winning gallantry medal, Captain dies in firefight with ULFA





A young Army Captain, who was decorated with the Sena Medal for gallantry on Republic Day yesterday, was killed in a fierce firefight with ULFA militants in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam today.

In the encounter inside the Mechaki reserve forest, 27-year-old Captain S K Choudhary of the 7/11 GR (Gorkha Rifles) led from the front. He was shot in the chest by the militants, two of whom were killed by the Captain and his men.

In fact, Choudhary was awarded the Sena medal for the bravery he showed last year when, in a similar encounter with the ULFA, he had killed two militants.

The Captain was to marry his fiancee next month. At her home, they were celebrating the announcement of the gallantry medal when news came in that Chaudhary had been killed.

Son of an Army officer — his father is a Lt Colonel posted at the Army Air Defence records office in Nashik — the Captain had already applied for leave and was due to head to Kathua (Jammu) shortly for his wedding. In fact, his Commanding Officer’s wife had spoken to his fiancee this morning to congratulate her.

A spokesman of the Army’s IV Corps Hqs at Tezpur said the firefight took place around 12.30 pm. He said Captain Choudhary succumbed to injuries while being taken to the hospital. His body will be flown to Kathua tomorrow.

“A combined group of Army and police personnel had proceeded to village Barpathar under Kakopathar police station in Tinsukia district at around 11.30 am today on receipt of specific information that four to five ULFA militants, including a senior leader, were hiding in a house there. But even as the security forces closed in, the militants took shelter in the dense Mechaki reserve forest following which the two sides engaged in a gunbattle,” the spokesman said.
 

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Shaheedon ki chitaon par lagenge har baras mele,

Watan par mar mitne walon ka yahi baki nishan hoga

There goes another one. Will get a medal and an honorary promotion and probably a petrol pump for which his relatives will have to first bribe everyone from fire department to environment department.

May also get a small jhuggi right next to Adarsh society if they get lucky.

These people laid down their lives for me and my family. I'm forever indebted to them.
 
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'He led from the front, even when he didn’t have to'


Three-Year-Old Sidharth does not understand the reason why his toys have been shifted out of the living room to make way for white sheets and incense sticks, or why his mother’s tears have been flowing all night.

Tomorrow his father, Lt Col M S Kadam, would have turned 38. Instead, today evening, his body reached home. The officer laid down his life on Sunday personally leading an assault to bring down the most wanted militant in Jammu and Kashmir.

As the officiating commanding officer of 22 Rashtriya Rifles, Kadam was not even supposed to lead an assault such as this. But, when he received information that Hafiz Nisar, the Lashkar-e-Toiba’s commander in Kashmir, was hiding in Rafiabad’s Chatloora village, Kadam could not sit back and watch.

“He was leading from the front even when he was not required to. He was leading a joint team of security personnel when it happened,” says his brother in law, Gautam Chavan, as a steady stream of visitors trickle into their Shankar Vihar flat in New Delhi to pay condolences.

The officer’s wife Captain Smita Kadam, an ex-Army dental officer, is still in a state of shock. She had talked to him on Sunday morning, just hours before he went on the operation to hunt down Nisar.

Army officers and eyewitnesses say that on receiving “hard intelligence” about the militant’s hideout on Sunday afternoon, Kadam decided to personally lead the assault party to Chatloora village. The officer was heading one of the two assault columns when it came under heavy fire.


Sepoy Pradeep Kumar, who was part of Kadam’s column, received fatal gunshot wounds in the first round of fire. The officer then ordered his troops to cordon off the area and led a small party to return fire.

In the ensuing gunbattle at close quarters, Kadam shot down the Lashkar commander but received grievous bullet injuries. “He managed to shoot down the commander but got critically injured in the gunfight. The officer succumbed to his injures while he was being evacuated to a medical facility,” a senior Army officer said.

The mortal remains of Kadam, who belongs to Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, were flown in to Delhi on Monday evening on a civilian flight. His family members will accompany the remains to his native village of Padve on Tuesday, where the cremation will be held with full military honours.

A determined officer’s ultimate sacrifice in the service of nation







BANGALORE: The death of Colonel Jojan Thomas in an encounter with militants in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday morning has left his family and friends devastated. Nevertheless, for his family, which has several members who have served in the Defence forces, his death is the ultimate sacrifice he could have made for the nation.

Col. Thomas was killed as he led a quick reaction team from 45 Rashtriya Rifles in the dense forests of Macchal sector, near the Line of Control. His team shot down six militants and he was one of the four Indian soldiers who were killed in the battle. He is survived by his wife Beena Jojan Thomas, daughter Meghana Thomas, (18) and son Philemon Thomas (11).

The flat in Manekshaw Vihar on St. John’s Church Road, where Ms. Thomas lives with her children, witnessed a series of religious prayers on Saturday evening as the family members waited for the arrival of the body.

Many of Col. Thomas’s friends and colleagues joined the family members in the evening prayers, conducted by Kuriakose Mar Severios, the Archbishop of Malankara Syrian Knanaya Jacobite Archdiocese.

Col. Thomas worked in the Army Service Corps Centre and College here for about two years before taking up the task of heading the 45 Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir. Col. Thomas was an officer who led from the front. “He had a strong determined mind and believed in excelling in whatever he was doing, whether guarding the border or rescuing personnel,” said his colleague Col. T.K. Jacob who worked with Col. Thomas in the ASC Centre and College.

Col. Thomas was the eldest of four sons. His father P.A. Thomas, who served in the Indian Army as a mechanical engineer, died just a month ago. “Our family has been serving in the Defence forces for a long time. My brother worked in Indian Navy and another brother served in the Indian Army,” said Joby Thomas, Col. Thomas’s brother.

Col. Thomas was commissioned from the Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai, in March 1986 in the 11 Jat Regiment. A native of Kuttoor in Kerala, Col. Thomas held several prestigious staff appointments. He was also an experienced pilot. Major Sandhu, who served with Col. Thomas and was associated with him for eight years, said Col. Thomas was “a fantastic leader and had experience of participating in various counter-insurgency operations. There is a lot that I learnt from him … He was my mentor and godfather. Men under him were ready to do anything for him,” he said.

Col. Thomas’s body was brought by an Indian Airlines flight from New Delhi on Saturday. On Monday, Col. Thomas’s body will be taken to St. John’s Church in Domlur. He will be buried at the cemetery on Hosur Road with full State honours.
 

The HBS Guy

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Why do our men and officers still die?

Do we not give them good enough bulletproof jackets and other protection?

Do we not give them reliable and stateof the art weaponry?

Do we not train them as well as we should?

What are we doing wrong?

Aside form the emotional angle, the death of an officer (especially) costs a lot to the country since we spend so much money and resources and time training these officers to be the best.

There's obviously something we're not doing right. What is it?

A ragtag militant managing to kill an officer is truly shameful for us.

Their death is unacceptable. Unacceptable.
 

Abingdonboy

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Shaheed Lt Navdeep Singh Bains (AC) Posthoumus- 15 Maratha LI




Lt. Navdeep Singh Bains tryst with destiny happened on 20th August 2011, barely five months after his commissioning. Army sources have termed it the biggest-ever infiltration attempt in J&K this year. Some have even compared it to Mumbai’s 26/11. In its scope and execution, it does have chilling similarities. Twelve terrorists dressed in black commando combat dresses and armed to the teeth with AK-47 rifles, Chinese-made 7.62 mm pistols and communication devices attempted to infiltrate the Line of Control (LoC) using inflatable rubber boats on Kishnaganga river, considered the defacto LoC between India and Pakistan. The infiltration was spotted at 12.30 am. By 12.45 am, an ambush party – the ‘Ghatak’ platoon commanded by Navdeep – reached the spot. In the exchange of gunfire that followed, the officer shot dead three militants . When a bullet wounded his ‘buddy’, Sepoy Vijay Gajare, he shifted his firing position to ramp up the attack – killing another militant. In the process, a bullet pierced his head. The infiltrators beat a hasty retreat. Six fell into the river and were swept away, while the bodies of the remaining six were taken. Navdeep was airlifted to the unit hospital. But he was already dead by then. He was 26.











 

New Recruit

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BANGALORE: The death of Colonel Jojan Thomas in an encounter with militants in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday morning has left his family and friends devastated. Nevertheless, for his family, which has several members who have served in the Defence forces, his death is the ultimate sacrifice he could have made for the nation.

Col. Thomas was killed as he led a quick reaction team from 45 Rashtriya Rifles in the dense forests of Macchal sector, near the Line of Control. His team shot down six militants and he was one of the four Indian soldiers who were killed in the battle. He is survived by his wife Beena Jojan Thomas, daughter Meghana Thomas, (18) and son Philemon Thomas (11).

The flat in Manekshaw Vihar on St. John’s Church Road, where Ms. Thomas lives with her children, witnessed a series of religious prayers on Saturday evening as the family members waited for the arrival of the body.

Many of Col. Thomas’s friends and colleagues joined the family members in the evening prayers, conducted by Kuriakose Mar Severios, the Archbishop of Malankara Syrian Knanaya Jacobite Archdiocese.

Col. Thomas worked in the Army Service Corps Centre and College here for about two years before taking up the task of heading the 45 Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir. Col. Thomas was an officer who led from the front. “He had a strong determined mind and believed in excelling in whatever he was doing, whether guarding the border or rescuing personnel,” said his colleague Col. T.K. Jacob who worked with Col. Thomas in the ASC Centre and College.

Col. Thomas was the eldest of four sons. His father P.A. Thomas, who served in the Indian Army as a mechanical engineer, died just a month ago. “Our family has been serving in the Defence forces for a long time. My brother worked in Indian Navy and another brother served in the Indian Army,” said Joby Thomas, Col. Thomas’s brother.

Col. Thomas was commissioned from the Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai, in March 1986 in the 11 Jat Regiment. A native of Kuttoor in Kerala, Col. Thomas held several prestigious staff appointments. He was also an experienced pilot. Major Sandhu, who served with Col. Thomas and was associated with him for eight years, said Col. Thomas was “a fantastic leader and had experience of participating in various counter-insurgency operations. There is a lot that I learnt from him … He was my mentor and godfather. Men under him were ready to do anything for him,” he said.

Col. Thomas’s body was brought by an Indian Airlines flight from New Delhi on Saturday. On Monday, Col. Thomas’s body will be taken to St. John’s Church in Domlur. He will be buried at the cemetery on Hosur Road with full State honours.
Colonel Jojan Thomas he was my neighbour in Bangalore I still remember the day when I heard the news of his death my father had tears in his eyes after hearing it.
Rest in peace sir you will be always be a shining example for our nation youth to follow.
 

Mike_Brando

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here's my contribution to this wonderful thread.......
Chuni Lal

Naib Subedar Chuni Lal, Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra, Sena Medal (Gallantry) was a soldier of 8th Battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (8 JAK LI) of Indian Army. He was born in Bhaderwah,and lived in Bhaar village in Doda district of Jammu. Decorated with Vir Chakra and Sena Medal (Gallantry),JC-593527, Lal was killed on the 24 June 2007 in a militant flush-out operation in Kashmir’s Kupwara sector. These militants, all of whom were also shot dead, were trying to cross the Line of Control (LoC) and enter Indian territory. The success of this militant flush-out operation, which claimed his life, earned him Ashok Chakra.
Career

In 1984, Lal joined the 8th Battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment. In 1987, he volunteered and participated in an operation to capture the Bana Post, located at 21,153 feet in the Siachen Glacier, for which he was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry). During June 1987, the 8th JAK LI, was deployed in the Siachen area. It was then found that a large number of Pakistani infiltrators had intruded over the Siachen Glacier. The ejection of these infiltrators was difficult but necessary and a special task force was constituted for this purpose. Chuni Lal and other soldiers of the unit such as Naib Subedar (later Sub Maj and Hony Capt) Bana Singh volunteered to join this force. The Pakistani intrusion had taken place at a height of 6500 metres at the highest peak in the Siachen Glacier area. From this feature the Pakistanis could snipe at Indian army positions since the height gave them a clear view of the entire Saltoro range and Siachen glacier. The Pakistanis called this post 'Quaid post' after their founder Quaid-e-azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The enemy post was a glacier fortress with ice walls, 457 metres high, on either side. On 26 June 1987, Naib Subedar Bana Singh led Chuni Lal and other men through an extremely difficult and hazardous route. These men crawled and closed in on the adversary and cleared the post of all intruders. This operation was named as Operation Rajiv and Nb Sub Bana Singh was awarded Param Vir Chakra for courage and bravery.
In 1999, in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir during Operation Rakshak, he fought an attempted intrusion by the Pakistan Army and was instrumental in killing 12 intruders and saved the post from enemy capture. He was awarded the Vir Chakra, for gallantry.
He also did two tenures with the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Somalia and Sudan. Display of exemplary courage by his team in Sudan won his unit a UN citation for valour.
On June 24, 2007, Lal was in charge of a post in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir. The post was at height of 14,000 feet where visibility on that cloudy night was just 5 metres and temperature was minus 5 degrees. Around 3:30am, he detected some movement across the fence on the Line of Control and decided to check it. He deployed his soldiers at the LoC. An exchange of fire followed, which continued for almost an hour. Nb Sub Chuni Lal and his soldiers surrounded the whole area and searched for their assailants till dawn. Finally as Nb Sub Chunni Lal and his team were approaching to search a sketchy bushy patch, they were suddenly fired upon. The men continued to close on to the area where their attackers were hiding and killed two of them on the spot. In the gunfire, two army soldiers were seriously wounded and lay close to where their attackers hid. With disregard to his personal safety, Chuni Lal crawled towards the wounded men and pulled them to safety thus saving their lives. Anticipating more hidden attackers, he continued to search the area. His anticipation proved right and he saw a third attacker trying to escape. Nb Sub Chuni Lal charged at him with his weapon and killed him. Unfortunately, an exchange fire from the attacker split opened Nb Sub Chunni Lal’s abdomen and he began to lose lot of blood. He took cover behind a rock, continued to fire and did not allow the other attackers to break the cordon. Under his leadership the two remaining attackers were also killed.
Chuni Lal had lost a large volume of blood and died by the time a helicopter could airlift him to nearest Army Hospital. For his actions in battle, Nb Sub Chuni Lal was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra on 15 August 2007[3] for saving the lives of his fellow men, displaying most conspicuous bravery, demonstrating battle field leadership and laying down his life to protect the country.
Nb Sub Chuni Lal is survived by his wife, Mrs Chinta Devi, and three children - son and two daughters. His wife, Mrs Chinta Devi received his Ashok Chakra medal from the President of India at the Republic Day Parade of 26 January 2008. Other three Ashoka Chakra medal awardees (all were awarded posthumously) on this Republic Day parade were IC-48714 Col Vasanth Venugopal, 9 Maratha Light Infantry, IC-59263, Major Dinesh Raghu Raman, Jat Regiment, 34 Rashtriya Rifles (34 RR) and IC-62541 Capt Harshan R, 2nd Battalion of Parachute Regiment (SF).
 

Abingdonboy

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Capt R Harshan, 2nd Battalion of Para Regiment (Special Forces).

1980-2007


BANGALORE: A 'Flame of Remembrance' for Capt R Harshan, who laid down his life fighting terrorists in Kashmir in March 2007, was lit at the Parachute Regiment Training Centre, RT Nagar, on Saturday. Harshan, who was only 27, was conferred the Ashok Chakra the same year, the youngest recipient of the peace-time gallantry award.

The function was organised by the alumni of Sainik School, Kazhakootam, Kerala (Harshan's alma mater), as part of the school's golden jubilee celebrations. The torch was lit by Lt Col O M Kuriakose, former commandant of Para Regiment. Wreaths were laid by chief guest Air Marshal Rajinder Singh, Senior Air Staff Officer, Air Force Training Command, Bangalore, and other alumni of the school, including half a dozen classmates of Harshan, who served in the 2nd Battalion of Para Regiment (Special Forces).

Naik Udayakumar J, who was with Harshan, recounted the incident: "On March 19, 2007, the team was camping in Lolab valley of Kashmir when Harshan got to know, around 10pm, that a few terrorists were hiding in a nearby village. Despite inclement weather, the troops rushed to the village. The terrorists, who got to know that Army had encircled them, tried to escape by firing indiscriminately around 3.50am. Capt Harshan, who was hit on his thigh, managed to kill two Harkat-ul Mujahideen terrorists. He was later hit on the neck and succumbed, but not before injuring seriously another terrorist."

The Torch for Harshan, along with similar ones lit across the country for other martyrs, will be carried to the school, where an Eternal Flame will be lit at the conclusion of the golden jubilee celebrations next month.
 

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