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Lt Triveni Singh

Screen heroes may rekindle memories of the 1999 Kargil War, but Indian Army officer Lieutenant Triveni Singh became a real life hero when he gunned down two terrorists in direct combat. The young soldier's raw courage averted what could have been a bloodbath at Jammu Railway Station on January 2. After accomplishing his duty, the brave officer laid down his life. "I am proud of our young officer Lieutenant Triveni Singh, who braved firing and grenade bursts to kill both the suicide group terrorists in the shortest-ever operation at the railway station," Rajinder Singh, general officer commanding, 26 Infantry Division, said in Jammu. Army sources said Singh, who headed the army's Quick Reaction Team posted at the station, spotted the two heavily armed Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists forcing their way into the station in battle fatigues. Singh and his 'Ghatak Commandos' reached the spot within 10 minutes, cordoned off the station and employed the 'zigzag methodology' to arrive within close range of the terrorists, said a senior railway police officer who was at the scene. Singh took on the terrorists in a gunfight at close quarters. He faced indiscriminate firing and lobbing of grenades. He succeeded in killing one of them and took charge of the so far 'uncontrollable' situation, the official said. The first terrorist was killed near the bridge between the first and the second platforms, he added. The second terrorist lobbed a grenade at Singh while trying to escape but the seriously injured officer stood up and killed him before being shot in the head. "Task accomplished," Singh said and saluted the GOC before breathing his last. Rajinder Singh remembered the lieutenant, who was commissioned in the 5 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in 2001, as a "brave and sharp boy". Seven people were killed and 15 were injured in the attack. The exchange of fire between the two sides continued for almost two and a half hours. Army sources said the other fatalities occurred as the terrorists fired indiscriminately while trying to get away. They said they had recovered a huge cache of AK-47 magazines and grenades from the terrorists, both suspected to be Pakistani nationals. The lieutenant's body has been taken by land to his hometown Pathankot in Punjab, where he will be given a funeral with full military honours.

Paratrooper Sanjog Chhetri (9 Para SF)- Op Sarp Vinash


The government has conferred the Ashok Chakra, India's highest peacetime gallantry award, which is the equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra, on a 21-year-old army commando who died participating in Operation Sarp Vinash in Jammu and Kashmir this year. Sanjog Chhetri of the prestigious 9 Para Commando was part of a team tasked for the initial operations on terrorist locations in Surankot area of Rajouri sector on April 22. "The commandos, while approaching the terrorists' hideout, drew extremely heavy automatic fire. Sensing grave danger to his comrades Sanjog assaulted the cave, lobbing grenades and firing from the hip and killing one terrorist. In the intense fire he suffered gunshot wound to the right shoulder, but unmindful of his physical condition he pressed on with the assault and killed a second terrorist. He, however, fell at the entrance of the cave.

The terrorists had inflicted multiple gunshot wounds to Sanjog," the army said in a statement "Paratrooper Sanjog Chhetri, in one last act of supreme valour, drew his commando knife and charged into the hideout, killing one more terrorist in hand-to-hand combat before finally succumbing to his wounds." Inspired by his supreme sacrifice, his comrades killed 13 terrorists that night and captured a Pakistan-trained terrorist. Chhetri was born on the Republic Day (January 26) of 1982 in Sikkim. A resident of South Sikkim district's Namchi tehsil, he lost his father when he was very young and he and his sister Sangeeta were adopted by their father's elder brother. He joined the army in March 2001 and was later selected to the exclusive 9 Para (Special Forces), which has been constantly in action in J&K since the beginning of militancy there in the late 80s. The unit has also seen action in Sri Lanka [ Images ] as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in the late 80s. The elite unit has so far won an unprecedented three Ashok Chakras. Captain A S Jasrotia posthumously won the Ashoka Chakra in 1996 and Major Sudhir Kumar in 2000 when he took on a big group of terrorists in Rajawar jungles in Kupwara district of J&K. The 9 Para is the only battalion to have won the army chief's unit citation three times. It was also labelled the 'Bravest of the Brave' for its valiant efforts to retake the entire Zulu ridge in Mushko valley during Kargil operations. The 9 Para is one of the four special forces in the army and is specially tasked for mountain operations. The unit traditionally operates between Akhnoor and Poonch areas in J&K. It was this unit that held the Munawar Tawi Line against a Pakistani armoured thrust in Chamb sector in 1971, for the first time donning the role of a regular frontline unit to stem the Pakistani attack. This year the unit has won one Shaurya Chakra and 10 Sena medals.

Major Mangerira Vinod Muthanna (5 Sikh LI/RR)


Major Vinod Muthanna, a native of Madikeri and attached to the 5th Sikh Light Infantry unit positioned at Khanbal in Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir died a heroes death and true to the characteristic valour of military officers from Kodagu. The Army base is situated on both sides of the Srinagar-Leh Highway at Khanbal and due to its remoteness was always under threat of being attacked by militants. Hence, the army personnel were on a constant alert and used to conduct security drills throughout the day, guarding the vital installations and civilian population around the camp. On January 12 last, at about 6 pm, when the soldiers were about to have their dinner, a Maruti van barged into the camp with four militants in it. The intruders were firing indiscriminately from AK 47 assault rifles, rocket launchers and hurling grenades to give the impression that a large number of them had broken into the camp. As the soldiers returned fire and stopped the vehicle, one of the militant was fatally hit and died on the spot.

Another, who was wounded, fled and two of them managed to slip into the barracks. Major Vinod Muthanna, who was leading the counter attack on militants finding that the militant fire had subsided, informed his Commanding Officer about the incident and informed him that two of the militants were suspected to have entered the camp. The CO instructed a thorough search of the camp and apprehension of the intruders. Accordingly, the entire camp was cordoned off and a search began. During the search operations it was found that the militants were holed up in a two storey building at the other side of the road. The building had only one entrance with a staircase leading to the first floor. Two jawans entered the building and were fired upon by the militants. Both the soldiers were injured and Major Muthanna, who was the third to enter the building fired at the militants. He gave covering fire till both of the wounded jawans retreated into safety outside the building. In the process, Major Vinod Muthanna was hit by a bullet on his lower right hip and grievously injured when a grenade, hurled by the militants, exploded on the right side of his face. He however, managed to kill one of the militants before falling unconscious. The time was around 1.30 am that fatal night and already seven hours had gone by with the encounter continuing. The Army then employed controlled blasting of the building with the intention of saving Major Muthanna. At that time, they did not know that Muthanna was fatally injured. Moreover, the two wounded jawans, in their dazed state, had informed their colleagues that "Major saab theek hain". This later proved to be wrong. As the building was being blasted, the lone surviving militant showed a desire to surrender. When questioned by the army, he confessed that he was part of a suicide squad sent in by the militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Toiba and was a native of Lahore in Pakistan. However, during the interrogation, he once again started firing from inside the building and was killed in return fire by the army fire. The Army personnel entered the building at around 3.30 am and found that Major Vinod Muthanna had already succumbed to his injuries. They also found that the dead militant was holding fast to a grenade in his hand with the pin removed so that when the army personnel attempt to remove it from his grasp, a few more of them would be killed in the blast.

Lt Hari Singh Bisht (11 GR)


Hari Singh Bisht of 11 Gorkha Rifles showed undaunting courage, valour and in the highest tradition of the Indian Army made supreme sacrifice in Bhimer Gali sector while fighting with terrorist. Lieutenant Hari Singh Bisht eliminated the most dreaded terrorist Abu Ahad Divisional Commander Rajouri and Poonch of HUJI organisation in a closely fought gunfight. The above terrorist was also involved in firing at Harni Police Station and killing innocent people at Harni. It was also reported that the he had physically abused the womenfolk at gunpoint, locals in and around the neighbouring area heaved a sign of relief on his elimination. Lieutenant Hari Singh Bisht was the son of the soil and with illustrious Army background, he was the second generation to be in the Indian Army. His father is a Honorary Captain also from the Army. Lieutenant Hari Singh Bisht was born in December 1974 and commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles in December 1999. The young officer had dynamic personality and an outstanding sportsman and was liked by all for his tremendous sense of humour. A

touching and emotional wreath laying ceremony and last tributes were paid at 150 General Hospital with full military honours to the departed officer. A large number of senior Army officers and civil dignitaries were present. The mortal remains of the officer were sent to Jammu and will be flown by Indian Airlines to his hometown Lucknow.

Arun khetarpal:
On 16 December 1971, the Squadron Commander of B Squadron, the Poona Horse asked for reinforcement as the Pakistani Armour which was superior in strength, counter attacked at Jarpal, in the Shakargarh Sector. On hearing this transmission, Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal who was in A Squadron, voluntarily moved along with his troop, to assist the other squadron. En route, while crossing the Basantar River, Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal and his troop came under fire from enemy strong points and RCL gun nests that were still holding out. Time was at a premium and as critical situation was developing in the B Squadron sector, Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, threw caution to the winds and started attacking the impending enemy strong points by literally charging them, overrunning the defence works with his tanks and capturing the enemy infantry and weapon crew at pistol point. In commander of his troop was killed. Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal continued to attack relentlessly until all enemy opposition was overcome and he broke through towards the B Squadron position, just in time to see the enemy tanks pulling back after their initial probing attack on this squadron. He was so carried away by the wild enthusiasm of battle and the impetus of his own headlong dash that he started chasing the withdrawing tanks and even managed to shoot and destroy one. Soon thereafter, the enemy reformed with a squadron of armour for a second attack and this time they selected the sector held by Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal and two other tanks as the points for their main effort. A fierce tank fight ensured ten enemy tanks were hit and destroyed of which Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal was severely wounded. He was asked to abandon his tank but he realised that the enemy though badly decimated was continuing to advance in his sector of responsibility and if he abandoned his tank the enemy would break through, he gallantly fought on and destroyed another enemy tank, At this stage his tank received a second hit which resulted in the death of this gallant officer. Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal was dead but he had, by his intrepid valour saved the day; the enemy was denied the breakthrough he was so desperately seeking. Not one enemy tank got through. Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal had shown the best qualities of leadership, tenacity of purpose and the will to close in with the enemy. This was an act of courage and selfsacrifice far beyond the call of duty. 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.

Major Inderjeet Singh Babbar (14 Field regiment)


The troops of Red Horns Division deployed in Darrang district had a spectacular success on 17 June 2003 in smashing an ULFA temporary transit hideout at village Neogpara five kilometers north east of Deomornai in Darrang district. Based on specific information about the presence of ULFA militants in Neogpara village the troops of Red Horns Division carried out seek and destroy operation under Major IS Babbar on 17 June 2003. At about 1100 hours the stops were placed on the escape routes and the search party under the officer approached the village to search the specific house. At about 1130 hours, as the search party approached the specific house the party suddenly came under heavy automatic fire from the house. The party Commander Major IS Babbar in a swift offensive action charged into one of the houses from where the hiding militants opened fire. In this ensuing encounter the officer sustained grievous injuries in his abdomen and shot dead one ULFA militant. Mean while another militant from the adjacent house opened fire indiscriminately at Major IS Babbar and his buddy, undaunted and in complete disregard to his personal safety the officer continued to engage the militant and killed the second militant. In spite of his critical injuries and profuse bleeding the officer in the highest traditions of theIndian Army, refused to be evacuated and continued to systematically destroy the militant hideout. The third militant who tried to flee while firing on own troops was also injured by Major IS Babbar and later shot dead by one of the stops. The dead militants were identified as self styled lieutenant Ajit Saikia Alias Kausher Ali and Bhairab Deka. In this unparalleled act of raw courage the officer killed two hardcore ULFA militants and succeeded in destroying the ULFA hideout. On search of the area Army recovered one 7.62 mm universal machine gun with one box cylindrical magazine, one rifle AK 56 with three magazine, 290 live rounds, 109 rounds of fired cases, one Chinese grenade, three detonators with safety fuse, large quantity of medicines and four rucksacks with personal belongings. Major IS Babbar in a rare display of inspired bravery and personal courage laid down his life fighting the militants in the service of the nation.

Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri (12 Bihar) - Op Rakshak


On November 9, all roads seemed to lead to the Captain Suri Park on Captain Suri Road in Shastri Nagar Colony of Ghaziabad when people from all walks of life streamed into the park to garland the bust of Ghaziabads brave hero, Captain Surinder Singh S uri. Captain Suri had attained martyrdom by sacrificing his life in the defence of the country at Faulad post situated at a height of 11,200 ft in Gulmarg sector of Jammu and Kashmir on November 9, 2000. But before making the supreme sacrifice, Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri and his gallant men had killed 17 Pakistan soldiers. On Monday, the third Martyrdom Day of Capt. Suri, skits, patriotic songs and mono-actings were presented by the students of various Ghaziabad schools who had worked hard to prepare the programme. Some thought-provoking speeches and poems, high in poetic and patriotic values, were also recited by eminent poets. Captain Suri was the lone recipient of the nations second highest decoration for gallantry, Mahavir Chakra, in Independence Da y Gallantry Awards in 2000. This is how his commanding officer, Col. G S Chandel, had recorded Capt. G S Suris last day valour: During this action while fighting the enemy, Captain G S Suri received wounds from a direct RPG and succumbed to his wounds. But before that seventeen Pakistani soldiers were killed and 14 bankers destroyed. A gun, a medium machinegun and two rocket launchers were snatched from enemy troops. This is what the citation of Mahavir Chakra awarded to him, said: On November 9, 1999 , enemy launched an attack on our post which was successfully repulsed. Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri immediately deployed his support group to take care of any reinforcement/interference and set out to clear the enemy bunkers, one by one. When Capt. Suri saw that one comrade was seriously injured, he quickly moved on with his buddy, to clear the bunker. He killed two enemy soldiers with his AK rifle and silenced the machinegun. However, he got a burst in his left arm in the process. Unmindful of his injury, he continued to inspire his men. He then lobbed two handgrenades into a bunker and entered inside spraying bullets and killed one enemy soldier. At this point, the officer was hit by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade and was critically wounded. He refused to be evacuated and continued to exhort his men till he breathed his last. Capt. Suri displayed extraordinary leadership, inspired by which the Ghataks (platoon) fell upon the enemy with vengeance and annihilated them. Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri, thus, displayed conspicuous bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy and made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. While the people eulogised the bravery of the late Capt. Suri, his parents Col. Tej Pal Singh, mother Surjit Kaur, grandfather, a World War II veteran,

subedar Gurbaksh Singh, and other relatives heard all this with moist eyes. G S simply performed his duty as a soldier towards his motherland, said his grandfather Subedar Gurbaksh Singh, in an emotion-choked voice.

Captain Mandeep Singh (4 RR / 49 AD Regt) - Op Rakshak


JALANDHAR, Aug 8 Capt Mandeep Singh of 49 Armoured Division Regiment, who was killed in Kupwara area of Jammu and Kashmir on August 6 in counter insurgency when terrorists stormed an Army camp of 4 Rashtriya Rifles, was cremated with full military honours here today. His father, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, lit the pyre and army bugglers sounded the last post.A contingent of Army personnel reversed the arms and then saluted the brave soldier by firing a volley of shots into the air. A student of DAV College and Khalsa College, here 30-year-old Mandeep Singh is survived by his wife, Rajwinder Kaur, and daughters, Gulgul and Bani, besides his parents and two younger brothers, Davinderdeep Singh and Inderdeep Singh. Leaders cutting across political lines paid tributes to the martyr.People from different walks of life lined the 2 km route from the captain's residence at Civil Lines to the Model Town cremation ground to pay their last respect to the soldier who died fighting militants. His mother, Mrs Ravinder Kaur, was seen being consoled by women who thronged the cremation ground. Brig Surjit Singh, Sub-Area Commander, Brig P.K. Grover, Vajra Corps, laid wreaths on the body of the martyr, besides other senior army officer, JCO'S and jawans. UNI adds: Commissioned in 49 Armoured Division in 1991, Mandeep Singh, Known as "Harry" to his friends, was presently attached with 4, Rashtriya Rifles. He was body builder who had taken part in competitions of Mr Punjab and Mr Jalandhar during his college days. Gulgul, his daughter whose birthday falls next month, was too innocent to know what had hit her, but she was sure to miss her loving father on her birthday.

Major Sudhir Kumar (9 Para SF)


Even though life continues normally in the little slate-roofed mud house in the tiny village of Banuri, near Palampur, yet it can never be the same again for those living there. In a dimly-lit small room, the immaculate uniform, belt and beret of an Army officer, hangs on the wall, and alongside you see the face of an earnest young, committed soldier staring at you. Along with the portrait and laminated blow-ups of the young officer, there are so

many other memories which the ageing couple in the house clings to. There is pride in the moist eyes of Subedar Rulia Ram, as he talks about his valiant son. Major Sudhir Kumar, on whom the highest peace time gallantary award, Ashoka Chakra, has been posthumously conferred, brought honour not only to his family, but to all those who loved and respected him. It was on August 29, last year, that he died fighting insurgents in the Kupwara sector of the trouble-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir. "It was on the night of August 27 that he gave us a call to say that he would be reaching home after two days, which he did, but in a coffin," recounts his mother. "Even as a small child his only aim in life was to join the Army and achieve something great," she says. It was not merely a fascination to adorn the olive green uniform, but to tread the path very few would dare to. Born on May 24, 1968, in Jodhpur, Major Sudhir studied uptil Class V in the government school in the village itself. It was after being selected in the Sainik School at Sujanpur Tira in Hamirpur district, that he could see his dreams coming true. After passing out from the NDA in 1987, he was commissioned on June 11, 1988. Initially, he joined the 4 Jat Regiment. But later shifted to the elite 9 Para Commandos. His stint in Sri Lanka as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) saw him emerge as an expert in guerrilla warfare. There was no looking back after this as he was decorated with service medals one after the other. The endless list of decorations includes the Videsh Seva Medal and Special Services Medal in 1990, Siachen Glacier Medal, High Altitude Medal and Sainya Medal for Jammu and Kashmir in 1992. He got the Sena Medal and Bar Two Medal in 1994 and Clasp Suraksha to Special Service Medal and Wound Medal in 1996. Major Sudhir was selected for the International Officers Advance Course in the USA. In that he qualified as an instructor with honours, after having done the course in protective services of VIP security and combat terrorism on military installations. Having added another feather to his cap, he was posted as the ADC to Army Chief,Gen V.P. Malik, from December 1997 to June 1999. His desire to be in the thick of warfare saw him becoming part of Operation Vijay, in Kargil. After it was over, Major Sudhir went back to counter-insurgency operations, his field of expertise, in Jammu and Kashmir. He was entrusted with important tasks, which included being sent on special secret missions to Pakistan. "It was not without reason that bhai was chosen for these difficult jobs. He had a flair for languages, he had mastered Persian and Sindhi. He was also an expert in the use of explosives and could easily decode the wireless messages of the militants," disclosed Arun, younger brother of Major Sudhir. The 31-year-old officer was killed in the dense forests of Haphruda in Kupwara, but only after gunning down a few militants. As he led a squad of five men in the area, he heard disembodied voices, but was unable to spot them. He along with his buddy crawled uphill and on reaching the knoll saw two armed militants, barely four metres away. He immediately killed the nearest sentry and charged towards the second, who jumped back into a large covered hideout in a depression, 15 metres below.

Without any hesitation, Major Sudhir charged at the hideout with only his buddy giving him covering fire.Taken aback, the militants, 20 in number, rushed out in an attempt to flee. Major Sudhir singlehandedly grappled with them and firing from a distance of two metres, killed four militants. In this action, he was hit on the face, chest and arm and fell down, bleeding profusely at the entrance of the hideout. Although, unable to move, he called up his troop commanders on the radio set, not to allow the militants to flee. It was only after 35 minutes, when fire stopped that he allowed his evacuation. Bleeding profusely, he continued to pass instructions to his troops on his radio set. He passed away holding his set, in the hand. While no amount of help can compensate for the loss of Subedar Rulia Rams son, the state government has not bothered to consider the bereaved fathers request for a job for his other son and daughter. "Since there is not even a single earning member from my family," rues Sub Rulia Ram, "I had personally requested the Chief Minister, P.K. Dhumal, to give a government job to my son or daughter, when he had come to our house, immediately after Sudhirs death." Major Sudhirs younger brother, Arun(28 ), had met with a serious car accident in 1992 and is unemployed. His younger sister, Asha, a student of BA-II, in Government College, Palampur, too, is willing to do a job, provided there is some help from the government. Even five months after Major Sudhir sacrificed his life for the nation, not a single person from the state government has payed his family a visit, let alone offer help. It is a matter of great regret that the martyr who is being revered by the entire nation, is a forgotten man in his home state.

Lt Narendra Mayenkar (11 Sikh)- Operation Rhino


Goa salutes 36-year-old Lt Narendra Mayenkar, a brave Indian soldier, who died fighting for his motherland, on February 26, in faraway Assam. Hailing from Sada in Vasco, Mayenkar was an exceptionally gallant soldier, who earned promotion by dint of hard work and dedication. His colleagues always found him cheerful, even in the face of danger and difficulties. He had already excelled himself at the tough task of tackling the ULFA militants in Assam. His very name terrified them and they had nicknamed him 'Marshal'. On February 26, Lt Mayenkar, a part of 'Operation Rhino', was leading a search party between beyond Gauwahati. They located the house in which they militants had holed up, but they would not surrender despite being advised to do so. So, asking his men to give him covering fire, Mayenkar stormed the house all by himself. While he was searching each room cautiously, when a militant suddenly sprang up and fired two rounds in his stomach from point blank range. Despite being shot, he continued boosting the morale of his soldiers, and killed two militants in a face to face encounter. Large crowds gathered to pay homage to this gallant Goan officer at Vasco. The entire Army

top brass was their to pay their respects to their courageous colleague. The buglers sounded the last post and self-loading rifles roared in the air to salute the martyr of the country, while the funeral pyre was being lit. Says his patriotic father, Atmaram Mayenkar, "I am proud of my son for laying his life fighting for the country." Narendra, who had studied at Vasco Municipal School, is the eldest in the family of two brothers and two sisters. He leaves behind his grief-stricken wife Neha and his two-year-old daughter Nidi.

Major Mohan Gangadharan (Bengal Engineer Group, 59 Engineer Regt)- Operation Rhino
For 75-year-old ex-servicemen Col K G Gangadharan it is a proud moment that his soldierson died a hero's death serving the country but for a father loss of a son brings untold grief. Bangalore's Major Mohan Gangadharan (38 ), of the Bengal Engineer Group, 59 engineering regiment, stationed at Naugong in Assam, was killed in an encounter with the ULFA militants on Tuesday.On that fateful day, Mohan had flagged down three men on a motorcycle when the pillion rider opened fire with an AK-47. He was hit by a bullet on his hand. Ignoring the injury, the Major retaliated with his gun. The Major's bullets killed two of the militants on the spot. However, before one of the militants died, a shot from his bullet hit Mohan's chest and it was instant death for him. The third militant managed to escape. On Thursday evening, a special aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) brought his body to the city. The body has been kept at the Air Force Command Hospital mortuary. Mohan's military family at Benson Town in the city has accepted his death bravely. One of Mohan's elder brothers Lt Col Keshav Gangadharan is at Jhansi while another one, who would have also been a military man but for his health, is employed in the State Bank of India, Bangalore. Their father recollects, among the three, Mohan was a topper all through his life. He always stood first at the Bengal Engineering Centre at Rourkee. Besides being a champion basketball player, a swimming champion and a coach, he was the best sharpshooter of the regiment in the Army, said Col P Madhavan,Mohan's co-brother. He had got into the Army on a direct recruitment through the Indian Military Academy. Mohan had married P G Nair's daughter, Renjini, and had a two-year-old daughter Nayanthara. Says a grieving Nair, "My daughter was living with him in Rourkee until he got transferred to Assam border. He was to have come to Bangalore in about ten days to take his family along." Bangalore-based MEG Centre's Major R Premachandran said, as the Bengal regiment did not have its centre in Bangalore, his centre would perform the last rites complete with military honours.

Capt. R Subramanian (1 Para SF) - Op Rakshak


NAHAN, June 27 Tributes were paid to martyr Capt R. Subramanian, who laid down his life for the nation while fighting foreign militants in Kupwara districts on June 18. Capt R. Subramanian belonged to First Para (SF) at present somewhere in Western Command. According to information available here, on June 18 during operations in Haphruda forest of Kupwara district in Kashmir valley, Capt R. Subramanian was the Troop Commander leading one of the columns. At around 6.30 p.m. his troops came under fire from a group of 10-15 foreign militants. Quickly analysing the situation, Capt Subramanian moved his troops over adverse and tough terrain and engaged the militants in a fight. As a result of his bold action his troops managed to extricate themselves from the ambush zone and also engaged the enemy. The ensuing fight continued into the night. Capt Subramanian kept the pressure on the militants. The next morning three militants from a commanding position brought down effective fire on his troop. Realising the tremendous danger to the life of his men, Capt Subramanian charged at the militants, firing from his weapons. The militants fired at him, injuring him in the neck and shoulders. This did not deter the valiant officer who unflinchingly continued to charge at them. He closed in on the militants and killed three of them. He received more injuries in the process in the face and head. By his singularly gallant action he killed three foreign militants and saved the lives of his men. Capt Subramanian was evacuated from the area immediately in a helicopter but he succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The bold and daring action and the supreme sacrifice made by him was in the highest tradition of the Indian Army. His indomitable courage and steadfast valour led to the elimination of nine hardcore foreign militants. Born on August 12, 1976, to Mr S. Ramchandran and Mrs Subha Lakshmi at Goregaon, Capt R. Subramanian was a zealous officer throughout his short service. He had performed exceedingly well in operations against militants in the North-East. He was totally selfless and always gave his best. His motto and selfless thoughts in life can be understood by the quotation he told to his friend before going for the operation: "You have never lived till you have almost died".

Maj Pradeep R Tathawade (8 J&K LI) - Op Rakshak


PUNE, JUNE 19: It was on a sultry morning that the mortal remains of Major Pradeep R Tathawade was consigned to flames at a solemn ceremony held at the Vaikunth crematorium here today morning. Maj Tathawade was killed in action against militants in Shahpur village, Poonch district in Jammu last Saturday. A veteran of many operations in the past till the last fateful encounter on Saturday, his funeral procession started from his residence and was mobbed by scores of people who

flocked the place. The procession took a circuitous route and passed through Sambhaji bridge via Karve road before arriving at the crematorium. With the Army taking elaborate measures to honour a slain brother in uniform, the place had been cleaned and washed in the early hours by the men of the Pune sub-area. Maj Tathawade's elder brother, Milind, performed the last rites along with the Major's one-year-old son Sagar. "The Major killed three militants in the operation before he succumbed to his injuries,'' says Maj Tathawade's colleague, Maj Sean O'Brien, who is from the same unit, the 8 Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) and accompanied the body to Pune. According to Maj O'Brien, the unit received a tip off on Friday about a group of militants holed up in Shahpur village. Maj Tathawde, who was the officiating commanding officer of the unit immediately moved to the area with his men. Surrounding the hut where the militants where holed up they asked the militants to surrender. When they refused the Army opened fire to flush out the militants. ``It was then that Maj Tathawade saw two militants trying to break away,'' remembers Maj O'Brien. Maj Tathawade charged the two militants and gunned them down when suddenly another attacked from behind. 'He rolled to the ground with the militant who got up and shot Maj Tathawade at point-blank range.'' Although shot in the stomach and thigh he managed to kill the third militant. By then he was bleeding profusely but continued to direct the operation, warning his people to stay back till the militants were killed or captured. "He ensured the safety of his men even though he was injured he refused to be evacuated,'' said Maj O'Brien. Later when the remaining militants were killed they rushed the Major to a field ambulance unit but it was too late. He died due to excessive bleeding and his body was flown to Pune in the early hours of Monday. Maj Tathawade was a veteran of several operations and had killed five militants from the Hizbul-ul-Mujahadeen in October last year. These militants were suspected to be from a group known as the HOJI. He had also done a stint on the Siachen glacier. Born in Kendur Pabal village of Shirur Taluka in Pune district, Maj Tathawade did his schooling at Satara Military school before joining the National Defence Academy. He was commissioned into the 8 JAKLI on June 1984. The funeral arrangements were made by the Pune sub area and Maj Gen B K Bopanna laid a wreath on behalf of the GOC-in-C, Southern Command, while Col G Ilangovan laid one on behalf of GOC-in--C Maharashtra and Gujarat area followed by a wreath by Brig Ashok Anand, Pune sub area commander.

Lt Ravinder Singh Chhikara ( 6 Grenadiers) -Op Rakshak


RAJOURI, July 30: Displaying undaunting courage and valour of the highest order, Lt Ravinder Chhikara, 24, killed three dreaded terrorists of HUJI before attaining the supreme

sacrifices in an encounter with foreign mercenaries near village Naili Kadoka in Manjakote area of Rajouri district on July 19. The sacrifice given by this young officer who kept the traditions of Indian Army alive by laying down his life for this great nation will always be remembered. Hailing from village Kheri Asra a small hamlet in Jhajjar Haryana Lt. Chhikara showed most courage,selfless devotion to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Army and with total disregard to personnel safety chased the dreaded HUJI militant group to their finish. After receiving the information about the presence of few terrorists in village Naili a joint operation was launched by Ghatak PI under Lt Chhikara with troops of 16 Sikh on July 19. Seeing the advancing Ghatak Party, the terrorists opened volley of fire on the Party. Lt Chhikara who was moving closely behind the scouts quickly moved the house where from the fire had come. Without wasting any time, under the cover of LMG fire the officer displaying utmost dedication to his duty sweeped into the room with a volley of bullets from his A K 47 Rifle and shot dead one terrorist who was in the process of firing his RPG. The terrorist was taken by surprise with the clever move of the Officer. The bold action by this young officer turned the situation in favour of security forces. Seeing their accomplice dead two more terrorists who were also inside the house returned fire and ran towards the hill under the cover of a nallah. Not ready to let this fleeing opportunity to loose, Lt Ravinder Chhikara along with his team immediately chased the fleeing terrorists. While chasing them he realised that his BPJ was hampering his impending task hence he threw it off and ran behind the terrorists like a roaring lion who were running up hill. With the gap closing in , the fleeing terrorists suddenly took cover of a boulder and started firing at the party headed by Lt Chhikara. Showing utmost courage, selfless devotion to duty and with total disregard to personnel safety this brave Indian Army Officer jumped behind another boulder and killed the terrorist also. However, in the process he suffered the grievous multiple bullet injuries in his chest from the third terrorist. This courageous officer was so entangled by the love of his mother land that despite the grievous wound he had suffered he entered into a hand to hand fight with the third terrorist and fired a long burst from his AK 47 Rifle killing him also before attaining martyrdom. During this encounter a total of six foreign mercenaries including Jammu Region Area Commander of HUJI was also killed and huge quantity of arms and ammunition received. The raw courage and swiftness shown by this Army Officer prevented the terrorists from encircling the party from behind. Lt Ravinder Chhikara is survived by his father Mr Rattan Singh, mother Mrs Kamli Devi and

a younger brother who is doing engineering in Kurukshetra Engineering College. This young officer while sacrificing his life for the nation took utmost care that no civilian should come in the cross firing in this deadly encounter and ensured their total safety before launching the offensive against the terrorists in the house they were hiding. Besides being devoted to his duty this dynamic officer had developed a good rapport with the people of the area and was enjoying their good will.

Captain Devinder Singh Jass, Naik Selva Kumar, Paratrooper Imtiyaz Ahmad Thokar 1 PARA (SF)
Militants holed up in a congested Sopore neighbourhood today shot and injured an Army Captain, dragged him inside a house and later killed him. A paratrooper from Shopian and a Naik were also killed in the fierce gunbattle that raged for 14 hours in Chinkipora in Sopore. Sources said six militants, including top Harkat-ul-Mujahideen commander Nouman, local commander Bashaarat Saleem and Salahuddin of Lashkar who came from Pakistan to replace Abdullah Uni, were hiding in Chinkipora. At the time of filing this report, the Army had halted the operation for the night, throwing a tight cordon around the encounter area. Troops had blown up three houses with explosives, hoping to have killed three militants while one was said to be still alive. Two militants had possibly escaped. The Army lost three men, including Captain Devinder Singh Jass and paratrooper Imtiyaz Ahmad Thokar who, incidentally, belonged to Shopian. Late tonight, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told NDTV that the Captain was overpowered, taken inside the house along with his weapon, and executed. The Army launched a massive operation late last night after receiving specific input about the presence of a group of HuM and Lashkar militants in a house in Chinkipora. Men of 1 Para, 22 Rashtriya Rifles and the J&K Police headed for the area. At 4.45 am, the first assault party of the para commandos, led by Captain Jass, moved in to storm the house. But the militants had already split into small groups, positioning themselves in several houses. The militants, sources said, were not taken by surprise when the paratroopers launched the first assault. The militants hurled five-six grenades and opened fire from all directions. There was chaos as several troopers were hit. Captain Jass and Thokar were shot when they tried to open the main door of a house where the militants were hiding. The paratroopers retreated, trying to pull the injured among them to safety. Captain Jass was missing. At this point, a Special Operations Group officer of the J&K Police,

accompanying the Army, dialled Jass on his mobile phone. But a militant answered, hurling abuses. Sources said the militant told the officer that Captain Jass was with them. To gain time, the militant was offered safe passage in exchange for Jass. But the militant said the officer had already been killed. Then began the difficult operation to retrieve the body of the officer while ensuring that the militants did not slip past the security cordon. The body was eventually retrieved just before sundown. Farooq Ahmad, IG, Kashmir Range, told The Indian Express that the number of militants killed could only be ascertained after searching the area. Sources said the Army and police had information about the presence there of Nouman, who had guided the fidayeen during the Lal Chowk attack last month and HuM local commander and IED expert Bashaarat Saleem. While the fierce gunbattle was on, the two roads leading to the site were literally taken over by stone-pelters who were attacking vehicles all through the day. In a statement, Defence spokesman Lt Col J S Brar said the encounter in Chinkipora started in the wee hours in which three Army men, including an officer, were killed. The deceased have been identified as Captain Devinder Singh Jass, Naik Selva Kumar and paratrooper Imtiyaz Ahmad Thoka of 1 Para. He said paratrooper Imtiyaz was from Shopian district. A few top terrorists are believed to be injured-killed, he said. Devinder Singh Jass an engineer 23 year old with a cushy job in a MNC at Deloitte and few months to his MBA degree was set for a comfortable life. With the kind of money and job every teenager aspires for. But fate, as they call it, had other ideas. Ever since childhood, he was bitten by the army bug. Ha completed his schooling from Guru Har Kishan Public School near India Gate, after that he enrolled for a degree in computer engineering at IIIT, Allahabad. While pursuing engineering, he applied for the army but could not clear the test.He then enrolled for MBA at GLA, Mathura. He tried once again to get into the army and a few months before getting his MBA degree, he joined the Indian Military Academy (IMA). From there on he volunteered for the special forces and after three months of gruelling training, he was inducted into the 1 Parachute Regiment. He was posted in Kupwara. On 23rd Feb 2010, 26-year-old Captain Jass along with Naik Selva Kumar and paratrooper Imtiyaz Ahmad Thokar died fighting terrorists in Sopore's Chinkipora area, 54 kilometres from Srinagar. Parents of Captain Devinder Singh Jass are proud of the 26-year-old Army officer who was killed in a fierce encounter with Lashkar terrorists in Sopore on Tuesday.Just two days

before he died, he had shot down five militants in Sopore. "I received a call from Srinagar that this has happened. All we can say is that we have lost everything. We have a daughter and a son but son is not there now. Our daughter is older and the son was younger. He was 26 years old. What can we say? We read that the encounter has ended now, in which two other soldiers have also lost their lives," said Bhupinder Singh, Captain Devinder Singh's father. The only son of Dalbir Kaur and Bhupinder Singh, Captain Jass was supposed to be home for Holi at their Mahagun Mansion in Indirapuram.Instead, his father will be receiving the body on Thursday. "I am a believer in fate. If something has to happen, you can't prevent it," Bhupinder said philosophically. Captain Jass's mother is sick and bedridden while his elder sister Harpreet is a professor of education at Jamia Millia University. "Very few people get to do what they want in life. That way, he was lucky to have achieved what he wanted," Bhupinder added. "Since childhood he was very passionate about joining the Indian Army. We left the choice to him," he said. A soft-spoken man, Captain Devender singh Jass was full of courage. "He was never afraid of taking risks. He opted to become a para-commando and went for training with 1 Para in J& K. He said he was very happy." Talking about his son, Bhupinder said, "He was so adamant to join the army that he took the entrance exam a second time and cleared it. "He had three months to go for the completion of his MBA programme when a private firm selected him through campus placement." The last time his parents talked to him was on Saturday. He had also spoken to a friend of his on Monday before leaving for the operation to flush out terrorists hiding in a building in Chinkipora. Terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir virtually trapped an elite special forces team and whisked away an Army Captain before killing him in Sopore on Tuesday. In an encounter that ended after nearly 15 hours of fierce gunbattle, two Army jawans and five terrorists were also killed. Apart from Captain Devinder Singh Jass, the other Armymen killed are Naik Selva Kumar and Paratrooper Imtiyaz Ahmad Thokar of 1 PARA. Paratrooper Imtiyaz belongs to the Shupiyan district of Kashmir.The gun battle began at about 5:30 am on Tuesday. The police and the Army learnt about the militants hiding in a house and launched a joint operation. The militants, however, were well-prepared for an assault.The Army Captain led his team close to the house, only to be met by a rain of grenades. A jawan was killed and several troops were injured and the Captain was overpowered by militants and taken away into the house. When a fellow officer called on the Captain's phone to offer safe passage for his release, the militants said: "We are ready to get killed. We've killed your Captain." They also refused to release the Captain's body. It is believed that between four and six militants were hiding in three houses and firing at the forces. Sources say two militants had escaped after the initial shootout.The forces denied that there was ever a hostage situation saying the Army Captain had been killed immediately after he was taken captive by the militants. The captain killed belonged to Ghaziabad. The jawans were from Pulwama and Thanjavur. All thee were from 1 Para SF

Major

Raman

Dada

(11

Sikh)

Op

Rhino

JALANDHAR, May 4 Raman Dada, son of a prominent business family here, died a soldier's death on May 2, fighting insurgents of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Biswanath Chariali reserve forest area in central Assam's Sonitar district. He was cremated with full military honours. Raman Dada (30) was educated here in Apee Jay School and did his bachelors degree in commerce from DAV College. "But business did not interest him, his passion was to become a soldier, " says a shocked father, Mr Ravi Dada, while holding his one-and-half-year old grandson, Dhruv, who is confused by a large number of people in his house. Raman Dada had spent the last one month with his family. He left for Assam on April 1, never to return alive. Commissioned in 1991, he married Anjani, daughter of Retd Colonel H.S. Dogra. The colonel has already lost his only son Capt Rajesh Dogra, who was killed while laying ambush in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir. "My son laid down his life on the border in Jammu and Kashmir and now my son-in-law has become a martyr". Finding it a little difficult to speak Col Dogra said that both the deaths in his family were due to the political turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam. He said, "The Army is always called in to combat the militancy when civilian initiative fails. But I have become a victim of militancy losing my son and son-in-law in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir. He looks at his young widowed daughter Anjani and says that though, she would get the declared benefits by the Army, the Assam Government should give some help as her husband died fighting the militants there. Mr Ravi Dada, too, feels that the Punjab Government and the Chief Minister should at least honour Major Dada of the 11th Sikh Regiment of the Army's 21 Mountain Division. The funeral pyre was lit by Mr Vishnu Dada, younger brother of the deceased Lt General Kamal Davar, Core Commander, 11 Corps, Maj Gen R. Karthikeyam, Chief of Staff, 11 Corps, over 150 Army officers and nearly 400 jawans were present along with a large gathering of city residents. Sadly, Major Raman Dada is the third Army casualty from here. Major Rohit Sharma (30), only son of a doctor couple, died on June 17, 1998 at Poonch, while 22-year-old Lt Sachin Khider of 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, was killed on October 31, 1998.

Major Harminder Pal Singh (18 Grenadiers)


The village of Sudarkut Bala is located approximately 40 km north of Srinagar in Baramula district of Kashmir Valley. This village witnessed a daredevil action by soldiers of an elite Infantry Battalion on 13 April 99, in which three foreign mercenaries were eliminated.

At about 1 p.m. on 13 Apr 99, information was received by the battalion that some Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence mercenaries were hiding in the congested locality of Khan Mohalla, in Sudarkut Bala. Working swiftly on this tip off, Maj HP Singh with approximately 50 men under his command, reached the locality by 1.30 p.m. and established a cordon around it. Soon after, they commenced a search for the mercenaries. When the search party was approximately 40 metres from the suspected houses, the mercenaries opened heavy automatic fire, and a fierce firefight ensued thereafter. In this fire, Maj HP Singh sustained bullet injuries on his left arm, while two other soldiers received splinter injuries from a rifle grenade fired by the mercenaries. The fire fight continued. The search party was now pinned down in the open, and fire intensified. Maj HP Singh and his troops held their ground. Realising the seriousness of the situation, Maj H P Singh, in spite of being injured, and with utter disregard to personal safety, boldly charged towards the side window of a room from where effective fire was being brought down on the search party, and swiftly eliminated two mercenaries at point blank range. The third mercenary however, retaliated immediately. In the process, Maj HP Singh sustained a gun shot wound on his temple. He engaged the mercenary to the last till he succumbed to his injuries. The mercenary tried to flee, but was shot dead by the search party, and the firing died down. Maj HP Singh had fearlessly led his column from upfront, setting a personal example for his command to emulate. He made the supreme sacrifice of his life while fighting the Pak ISI sponsored proxy war and safe guarding the integrity of his motherland. Maj HP Singh is survived by his wife with a three month old son, and his old father who has retired from the Army. This brave son of the nation hailed from Mundi Kharar village in Ropar District of Punjab. His mortal remains, draped in the tricolour, were sent to his village, on 14 Apr 99 where he was cremated with honours reserved for the bravest. When the nation is celeberating the tercentenary of the Khalsa Panth, this brave soldier hailing from a village near Anandpur Sahib, has upheld the martial spirit of the Khalsa by his supreme sacrifice. There can be no better example of the spirit of Service before Self - the motto of the Indian Army, where Maj HP Singh, despite having suffered a grevious injuries, continued to lead his troops from the front and eliminated two mercenaries before laying down his life. SRINAGAR/KHARAR, April 15: Even as lakhs of Sikhs were thronging Anandpur Sahib to revel in the spirit of the Khalsa on the occasion of the tercentenary of their birth, a modern-day Sikh warrior was living up to the Sikh military traditions in the Kashmir Valley. Major Harminder Pal Singh, the 31-year-old 6 foot 2 inch lad from Kharar, had been wounded in the left arm but had recovered to engage three militants armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades in an eyeball-toeyeball encounter in a remote North Kashmir village on April 13. The 18 Grenadiers Major was shot through the temple by the third militant but not before he had gunned down two of them. Harminder led the commando platoon of his battalion in what has been described as a ``dare-devil'' operation in a congested locality of Sadurkotbala village in Manasbal. Harminder's commando platoon of 32 men surrounded 12 houses at 1 p.m. in the Khan mohalla after a tip-off about four Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants. Their presence in the cluster of houses was confirmed by the visage of the villagers. The commandoes surrounded the houses but they didn't know which house the militants were in. ``The visibility was low because of a dust-storm,'' recalls Havildar Vishnu Prasad, the Major's buddy commando.

Harminder was in the lead. Five houses were searched without encountering the militants and Harminder and his five commandoes were approaching the next few through an alley. Then suddenly, the militants opened fire with AK rifles through a ground floor window from a distance of 15 yards. The bullets struck the Major in the left arm. ``He faltered and fell but recovered just enough to take cover behind a rock,'' recalls Vishnu. Despite his injury, he opened fire at one of the militants who was poking his head out of the second floor window of the house. The AK burst took the militant's head and he came tumbling down. Another one died when the wounded officer managed to lob a grenade through the ground-floor window with his right hand and followed it up with a burst. The Major's bullet-proof helmet slipped off when he was crawling to cut off the third militant's escape from the main entrance. The surviving militant pierced his temple with bullets. He died at once. Says Lt Gen Krishan Pal, Commander, 15 Corps: ``He was a brave man who led from the front. It was a very difficult operation as the soldiers had to expose themselves in the built-up area to prevent collateral damage to civilian houses and life.'' Adds he: ``The Major's action is significant, particularly in light of the Khalsa tercentenary. He has upheld the spirit of Guru Gobind Singh by rising to fight the evil. Sikh troops are amongst the most gallant and have repeatedly proven themselves.'' ``He was an officer who ate with his men and even played cards with them. Our morale used to shoot up because he was always in the forefront whenever there was any danger,'' says Grenadier Satpal, who was wounded in the back by a grenade blast. The Grenadiers revere the Major as a `sant-sipahi' and his loss makes even a tough Haryanvi Jat like Vishnu misty-eyed. ``Our welfare was uppermost in his mind,'' he says. Perhaps valour ran through his blood. His father Harpal Singh also served the Indian Army and retired as a Captain. The Major's body, wrapped in the tricolour, was cremated with full military honours at the Ram Bagh cremation grounds at Kharar this morning. Major R.K. Pathak, V. Sajiv, Dalwinder Singh, Rajesh Anand, V.S. Chahal and Lieutenant Deepak Vector, led by the Commanding Officer of Artillery Regiment, Colonel Kulwant Singh, were among those present.

Major Mohit Sharma 1 PARA (SF)


Major Mohit Sharma of the Parachute Regiment, who was killed in the Hafrada forest battling terrorists on Saturday, is the first officer to be killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir in 2009. The encounter with terrorists in the forests near Kupwara started on March 20 and entered its third day on Monday. Even as the operation continues, the body of slain Major Sharma was brought home for his last rites in New Delhi on Monday morning. The 31-year-old Major died fighting heavily-armed terrorists at Kupwara. Three other soldiers, too, have been killed in the encounter while seven terrorists have been gunned down so far. "Major Mohit Sharma was already a Sena Medal gallantry winner. He was one of the finest and a very brave officer. This was a very, very difficult operation in which he participated and he made the supreme sacrifice," said Lieutenant General PC Katoch, Colonel of the Parachute Regiment. Major Sharma's elder brother Madhur remembers Mohit as a brilliant student and a boxing champion who was never afraid of danger. Though he got shot in his leg in a military operation in 2004, Major Sharma's will to fight for the country never faltered..

"I am unfortunate that i don't have a son. I have two daughters. I will try and coach them to make sure that they join the army. Maybe they want to join the army," said Madhur Sharma. Major Sharma's father RP Sharma with tears in his eyes simple said, "He died for the country. I am proud of him." Every year, about 100 army soldiers are killed while battling insurgents. Major Sharma leaves behind his wife, also an army officer and his parents. As the funeral pyre was lit a grateful nation bid adieu to one of its bravest son.

Capt Umang Bhardwaj ( ASC/7 Jat)


The mortal remains of Capt Umang Bhardwaj were consigned to the flames with state honours at his native Gaudoli village near here last evening. His elder brother, Maj Rakesh Bhardwaj, who is posted in the National Security Guard (NSG) contingent at Manesar, lit the funeral pyre. Capt Umang Bhardwaj, who was commissioned as an officer about three years back, left home after a brief holiday on Saturday, only to be brought back in a coffin. No wonder that the family is devastated. He was just 25.Their son made the supreme sacrifice on the night of November 18 while leading an operation against Pakistan-backed militants who were trying to infiltrate the Rajouri-Poonch sector near the Line of Control in the trouble-torn Jammu and Kashmir. According to an official of his 7 Jat Battalion, Capt Bhardwaj, after getting a tip-off that militants would try to sneak into the Valley around midnight of November 18, led an assault along with members of his team. In the bloody encounter, the hero liquidated six of the militants on the spot. The seventh and the final militant of the group tried to play hide and seek, but was eventually shot down in an encounter that lasted till the early hours of the next morning. During the operation, a volley of bullets hit the captain, wounding him in the chest and thigh. He succumbed on November 19. Three of his team members are still in the hospital. After the funeral last evening, an emotion-choked Maj Rakesh Bhardwaj said that in a fullfledged conventional war, the Indian forces were capable of overwhelming the Pakistani Army in a few days time. But the country was facing a low-intensity proxy war from across the border. It was difficult to crush a menace like this once and for all. Representatives of the Chief of Army Staff, the Governor of Haryana and the Chief Minister paid floral tributes to Capt Bhardwaj. Several prominent residents of the city were present on the occasion. They raised anti-Pakistan slogans. Significantly, Capt Bhardwaj hails from a family of ex-servicemen. Capt Bhardwajs father was a colonel when he took premature retirement. A graduate from the University of Delhi, he did a Business and Management course from

Wigan and Leigh in England. He was selected at the National Defence Academy at the age of 19, but couldnt join due to his mothers resistance.

L Nk Mohammad Altaf Dar


Lance Naik Mohammad Altaf Dar who achieved martyrdom while fighting Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) terrorists had chosen to join the Indian Army in 1997 at a time when most of his friends were crossing the Line of Control (LoC) from his native border district of Kupwara to Pakistan to get trained in conducting terrorist activities. " My husband overcame pressure from his friends to become a militant and instead chose to join the Indian Army," his widow 24-year-old Meema Begum said in Jammu. Meema, who received from General Officer Commanding in-Chief (GOC-in-C)Northern Command, Lt Gen Hari Prasad the Sena Medal awarded for gallantry to her deceased husband said:" I feel honoured and proud of my husband who died for his country." Dar hailed from Hawari hamlet in the Kupwara district of North Kashmir. Meema, who has a four-year-old daughter appealed to Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Defence Minister George Fernandes and Army Chief General N C Vij to help her in becoming a doctor. She said that she now lives with her parents and does not want to be a burden for them any more. " I want the army to help me as I am part of the Army family," Meema said.

Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum (12 J&K LI) Op Vijay


O captain, my captain... Today he is gone..... martyrised himself for the motherland. Proving daring unto death, Captain Nongrum left behind yesterdays beautiful moments which are today's beautiful memories. The mission accomplished. The battle won. The ship is back to the home shores. But where is the hero of the battle? the daring captain who made it all possible by leading from the front. Alas! It is a sad irony that he is no more to witness this great hour while his deeds are immortal his mortal remains lie on the deck of the ship. True to its name, a Vijay may have been achieved in the operation by the Indian forces in fighting with the enemy but not without the great sacrifices made by the soldiers. A small close knit family in the far eastern city of Shillong in Meghalaya is one amongst those families of these martyrs it gave to the country a leader amongst men, when, he was born on March 7, 1974. It gave to the country a dynamic officer when he was

commissioned into the Indian Army at the Officers Training Academy, Chennai on September 5, 1997. It gave to the country a Captain who at the mere age of 25 fought on till the moment of martyrdom which came on July 2, 1999. Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum of the 12 J&K Light Infantry had done all to be bestowed posthumously with Mahavir Chakra for his gallantry. A winding journey by bus upward the hill carries one to the Alugodam area of Shillong. Even before enquiring about the address, your eyes are sure to fall on the huge posters and banners which simply tell how proud and moved this place is by the heroic deeds of one of the local boys. They (the banners) act as a path-finder to one calm (and benumbed) house that now has almost become a shrine. As the front door opens, ones eyes just get transfixed for a few moments on Captain Cliffords his life-size photograph in full uniform. As your eyes meet his, you know immediately that he was one rare gem the country cannot forget. There are a number of articles like citation and honours which he received at the termination of his brief career, a few smaller photographs a couple of them taken of him while he was in training, another with the his whole family and yet another showing his parents unbuttoning the stars on his shoulder at the pipping ceremony on his passing out parade which was a glorious day merely a couple of years back. Few lighted incense sticks lie at the corner of the photograph. But then, the article that draws your immediate attention is a used Bofors shell that Clifford had carried back home as a memento from his posting at Siachen. Fresh flowers are now placed in thus hollow portion of its nozzle. Some idea of a flower vase! The combination may look bizarre but thats the story of a soldier for you. The story of a martyr. The story of Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum. The story of Guns n Roses. Born as the second of the three sons of Keishing Peter and Saily Nongrum, Clifford was a loving and bright boy from his early days. After completion of his schooling from Don Bosco Technical School, from where he also got his Diploma in Automobile Mechanics, Clifford did his graduation from St. Anthonys College in 1996. It was in his final year at college in 1995 that he appeared for the CDS (Combined Defence Services) exams. He went to face the Services Selection interview board in Bangalore on July 7, 1996. That was the start of a heroic journey from Shillong, which was to end exactly three years later, matched to the date. It carried him to the Officers Training Academy in Chennai from where he was commissioned and attached to the 12 J&K LI. All through he was posted in very difficult places like Leh, Kargil, Dras and Siachen. The honour of being an Army officer came with the summons for duty in operation Vijay. Clifford rose to the occasion and returned to Shillong as an immortal warrior. Reminiscing about his sons life, Mr. Peter, a manager in the Personal Banking Division of Laithumkhah Branch of SBI in Shillong, says that the date of 7th has been very significant in Cliffords life. Apart from being born on March 7, it was on April 7, 1999, that he left home for the last time... only for his mortal remains to land in Shillong draped in the Tri-colour exactly three months later i.e. on July 7. A wall poster can be seen next to his photograph. It has a touching scenary and the line,

"Todays beautiful moments are tomorrows beautiful memories" inscribed on it. It perfectly sums up the feelings of Cliffords family members now. Mr. Peter and Clifford Babah (elder brother), Keishing Geoffrey Nongrum seem to get transferred to another world as they narrate episode and incidents from Cliffords life. In Mr. Peters opinion, Clifford was very different from any average person. He had the quality to please, be accommodative and helpful to all around him. He never wasted time and was always active. He even knew most household jobs and helped his mother in cooking. Mr. Peter never had to face any problem with his car nor take it to any mechanic while Clifford was in Shillong. Mr. Peter speaks of a day when all the three sons having a joyride on his scooter. Suddenly Clifford started jumping. When a number of dont-do-it please didnt work, Mr. Peter slapped Clifford hard. Clifford started crying bitterly. Narrating this incident, the father himself starts weeping. Geoffrey was a friend of Clifford. It was in his marriage that Clifford had last come to Shillong. "It is a great feeling to lead a few days of civilian life like you", Clifford used to say to Geoffrey after getting a break from his hard life. According to Geoffrey, getting into the Army was written in his fate. From playing with lots of toy-guns in the childhood, to reading encyclopaedias to collect information about world affairs particularly the defence systems and their mode of operation and also meeting unknown Army personnel to gather information about the services and its modalities were clear indicators that young Clifford had an inclination towards joining the services. It used to always surprise elder brother Geoffrey that how Clifford got the time to indulge into so many activities and gain so much of knowledge. Being so hard working and disciplined, it is no wonder that the caqll to serve the nation through the Armed Forces beckoned him, quips Geoffrey. These old friends are now heart-broken... some still cant believe the fact. "I tell these friends that Clifford made the supreme sacrifice dauntlessly, so we must not mourn, but be proud of him", says Geoffrey. In his brief career, Clifford had always played with fire. He came face to face with death on many occasions. While posted in Siachen, he single-handedly rescued 12 ill-fated people in the Northern Glacier. He received the Sena Medal for it. In another incident he rescued a colleague in Siachen who was hit by a bullet in the brain. He bandaged the soldiers skull and carried him to safety on shoulders with enemy bullets whizzing past his ears. His proud father shows releases and paper cuttings that profoundly relate the great courage and sheer will of the indomitable Captain Saab.

Captain Omkarnath Rao (22 MLI) - Op Rakshak


BANGALORE: As the Marathas bid adieu to their young martyr with tearful eyes in Uri sector on Monday, it was a goodbye to a friend and colleague, who had kept the honour of the uniform, an end to a story of great valour. In life Captain Omkar Nath Rao had made his battalion proud by volunteering to the most difficult assignments, in death too he kept the prestige of hisu nit. Captain Rao was killed in a fierce encounter with a group of militants and Pak regulars at the Line of Control in Uri on

Sunday. However, before laying his life, he killed a militant and a Pak armyman. A civilian porter was also killed when the patrol led by Captain Rao came under fire near Dardkote forward post. "He had just returned from Siachen. In fact we didn't even get time to talk. I thought now that he has come back to the unit we will have a good time again," said Captain Rao's friend and colleague, Major A P Kumar. "Perhaps I had forgotten the inevitable in a soldiers life". The only son of a retired Army officer, Col G V Rao, this 26-year-old captain hailing from Bangalore had just three and half years of service. Being from a fauji family, bravery was in his sweat and blood. Thus he volunteered to the most difficult postings and missions. ``He always wanted his father to feel proud about him,'' a colleague said.``In fact, the young officers belonging to Army families have always the penchant for sacrifice. They always want to keep the heads of their nears and dears high''. Captain Rao had joined the unit in Uri sector on March 4 after serving for six months in Siachen glacer. "Officers get a peace posting after serving at the Siachen but this young captain preferred to join his parent unit,'' said Brigadier R K Sharma, remembering Rao as a brave young officer. Major A P Kumar said Captain Rao was still going through the familiarisation process of the unit area. ``After joining on March 4, he was with us here in the unit headquarters getting to know the area. It was only on March 9 that he was sent to the forward post,'' he said.

Captain Jitesh Bhutani (31 CIU)


LUCKNOW : Twenty-eight-year-old Captain Jitesh Bhutani of the Counter Intelligence Unit (CIU) attained martyrdom during an anti-insurgency operation on November 16 at Shupian near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir . His body was cremated with full military honours here at Bhainsakund on Monday. Captain Jitesh was 15th son of the city since Kargil conflict to make the supreme sacrifice while defending the borders. Jiteshs wife Lina, who had dreamt of coming to her sasural at Alinganj with the husband during next holidays, had the misfortune of escorting his body from Srinagar to Lucknow . The martyrs body was brought to the state capital on Sunday evening and was kept at the Command Hospital in the night. In the morning amidst sloganeering of Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Capt Jitesh Amar Rahen, the body was consigned to flames. With numb eyes, Jiteshs uncle lit the pyre. Soldiers of the Kumaun Regiment sounded the last post and fired in the air to pay their homage. Jiteshs friends and family members said that destiny had always been cruel with him. He was just two-year-old when his father, an engineer in the irrigation department, died. A

year later, his mother also left to remarry. Uncle Dr SP Bhutani, a retired medical officer, raised the boy, giving him both motherly affection and fatherly care. Jiteshs early schooling was at the City Montessori School and later at the La Martiniere Boys College, Birla Vidya Mandir in Nainital and then at the RIMC in Dehra Dun . He qualified National Defence Academy entrance examinations and was commissioned in 1996 in 5 Armoured Corps and was last serving in 3 CIU. He met Lina and the two got married in 2001.Only an year ago he had called the wife to stay with him in Srinagar , where she took up a teaching job.Governor Vishnukant Shastri, mayor SC Rai and director Sainik Kalyan Brig. (Retd) RD Singh laid wreaths on the martyrs body to pay their respects. Wreaths were also laid by chief secretary AP Singh on behalf of the chief minister, Maj-Gen Utpal Bhattacharyya on behalf of the Central Command General Officer Commanding-inChief, Brig Sham Mediratta on behalf of the Chief of Staff and Col Nilesh Kunwar on behalf of Sub Area Commander. Maj Chandrashekhar laid a wreath on behalf of all ranks on the CIU.

Major Milton V Kurien (5 Sikh)


Major Milton Kurien's final homecoming on Tuesday was a sombre, dignified affair, complete with military honours, as befitting one who had died for his country. At the Nedumbassery international airport, the coffin, draped in the national Tricolour, was borne down from the aircraft by six Naval officers, clad in their crispest whites. The Major's wife Mercy, mother Baby and sister Shalbi Mini, who so far had been waiting quietly, let out a cry of grief. But a hero's family is generally denied the luxury of grieving. They hastily regained their composure as a stream of ministers, MLAs, police and military officers came to lay wreaths and offer condolences. A huge throng of mourners watched as Tourism Minister K V Thomas, MLAs V D Satheesan, M A Chandrasekharan and K Muhamadali, Aluva SP Shamsuddin and DSP George Sebastian, District Collector Gyanesh Kumar, Brig. R K Gupta (station commander, Kochi), Col. G Sasi (administrative commandant) and Captain R A Jaiswal (representing the Southern Naval Command) saluted the Major who lost his life in a `fidayeen' attack at Kupwara, Kashmir on Saturday morning. Aluva was in complete mourning, with residents wearing black badges and even public transport vehicles flying black flags. Students of an upper primary school flanked the lane leading to Kurien's home, holding candles, as the military cortege wended its way. ``He was an armyman. Anyone who joins the forces knows that he might one day be called to make the supreme sacrifice. My boy died for his motherland. There can be no better death than this,'' his grandfather K George Thayyil said in the true military spirit of a retired soldier. Thayyil had served in the erstwhile Royal Indian Artillery.

A serpentine queue formed outside the pandal at NAD football grounds where the cortege halted for people to pay their last respects. A funeral guard as well as a local NCC platoon stood in attention. Achal, the Major's four-and-a-half-year-old son, watched the proceedings in bewilderment. ``He's so young, he doesn't comprehend anything,'' said the boy's great grandfather. The Major was later laid to rest at the St Sebastian's Church cemetery.

Major Lalson Varghese (14 RR)


HYDERABAD April 28, 2003 Family, friends, colleagues and common folk bid a tearful farewell to Major Lalson Varghese of the Indian Army in Hyderabad on Monday afternoon. Suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists killed the 29-year-old major in an ambush during the counter-insurgency Operation Rakshak at Sumblar village in the Bandipora region of the Kashmir valley on April 24. The funeral was held with full military honours, with Home Minister T Devender Goud representing the state government. The coffin was brought to the New Life Assembly of God Church where the funeral service was conducted. The body was then interred at the Garrison cemetery at Trimulgherry. Thomas Varghese, a retired army officer, said, "A soldier has died for his country and I am proud to be his father." Lalson's brothers, Reverend Valson Varghese and Sabu Varghese, his mother Aleyamma, and wife Nisha fought back their tears as they bid him goodbye. A resident of Ramakrishnapuram in the Secunderabad Cantonment, Maj Varghese did his schooling at the Ajmer Military School and passed out of the National Defence Academy in 1995. He was commissioned into the 42nd Regiment of the Indian Army after passing out of the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, in June 1996. He was on deputation to the 14th Rashtriya Rifles at the time of the Kargil war. The youngest of three brothers, Lalson got married just seven months ago. He celebrated his birthday with the family on March 13 and left for Kashmir three days later. He called up his wife on April 23 and told her of his plans of returning in September for their first wedding anniversary. But he was killed the next day. The body was brought back from Kashmir on April 26. According to the army, Maj Varghese was an outstanding officer and served in several posts. He also won many sports medals, and excelled in several disciplines. He also loved painting. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu recalled in a statement that Maj Varghese had earned a promotion by displaying exemplary courage during the Kargil war. He had done the state

and the country proud, he said.

Major Amit Sharma (27 RR) - Op Rakshak


Meerut, March 15 The whole atmosphere here was charged with deep emotions as seven-year-old Abhijatya Sharma performed the last rites of his father, Major Amit Sharma, in the presence of hundreds of people who with tears in their eyes said goodbye to the brave soldier. Major Amit Sharma made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty combating terrorists in the dense jungles of Bafliaz in the Surankot tehsil of Jammu and Kashmir. Bafliaz in Surankot is the area where Operation Sarp Vinash was carried out by the Indian armed forces some months back. In a gun-battle on March 12 Major Amit Sharma, serving in 27 Rashtriya Rifles, was killed by terrorists hiding in the forest. In the ensuing fight with other terrorists the officer sustained serious gunshot wounds and was evacuated to the military hospital in Surankot where he breathed his last in the early hours of March 13, 2004. Earlier, the body of the slain soldier arrived at his residence on Bank Street where his relatives and friends along with family members paid tributes to him. Then the body was taken to the Surajkund cremation ground in a gun carriage. Several senior Army officials also accompanied the gun carriage. At the cremation ground floral tributes were offered and wreaths laid on the body of the officer wrapped in a Tricolour. Wreaths were also laid by the Colonel Commandant of 9 Horse and General Officer Commanding, 21 Corps, Lt-Gen Aditya Singh, the GOC, Western Command, the GOC, Central Command. While jawans saluted the soldier by reversing their weapons and playing the last post three rounds of gunshots were fired by the jawans in honour of the officer.

Captain Nitin Chavan (115 Engr Regiment)- Op Rakshak


PUNE, SEPT 14: Tragedy continues to strike the Chavan family. Around this time last year, Captain Nitin Chavan was in Pune to complete the last rites of his mother, Sunanda. She had gone to Mahad to offer thanksgiving prayers when her son was commissioned as an officer. She lost her life in a road accident near Bhor Ghat before she could offer her prayers. Even before the wounds could heal, yet another tragedy has hit the Chavan family. Captain Nitin Chavan lost his life on Monday while flushing out Pakistan-sponsored militants in the Rajouri sector in Jammu and Kashmir. Captain Chavan was leading a patrol party when he observed a group of about five militants near Majhiari schooli Surankot tehsil, Rajouri sector. Immediately, Captain Chavan divided his party into two groups and chased the militants.

Around 1.45 pm, contact was established with the militants in a maize field and fierce fighting ensued for over an hour. Exhibiting raw courage, Captain Chavan and Lance Naik Balwinder, his radio operator closed in onto the maize field from where the fire was coming. He was about to pounce on the militants when the both of them fired at a close range resulting in multiple gun shot wounds to both the brave soldiers who died. The area was soon cordoned by the reinforced troops and operations are still continuing. Chavan is survived by his father Prakash Chavan and sister Smita. His mortal remains will arrive in Pune on Wednesday evening by the Delhi-Pune flight. The last rites will beperformed at BEG Sapras on Thursday. Incidentally, Chavan had just completed an assignment in the Poonch sector a month ago. He spent a month with his family at Tingrenagar at their new bungalow, Sunanda Niwas, when he was called up to take on an assignment in Rajouri sector fifteen days ago. On Sunday afternoon, he telephoned home to convey that all was well. A telegram arrived this morning informing the family that Nitin had died in action while fighting militants in the Rajouri sector. Nitin Chavan (23) always nursed an ambition to become an officer in the Indian Army. His father Prakash Chavan retired as a Havildar from the Bombay Engineer Group in 1988. His uncle Sambhaji Chavan is with the paramilitary forces. A brilliant student, Chavan completed his schooling at St Joseph's School in Khadki and went onto study in S P College when he was selected for the NDA in 1994.

Major Padmanabha Sri Kumar (27 RR) - Op Rakshak


NEW DELHI, Dec 15,1997: Major Padmanabha Sri Kumar was killed in an encounter with militants in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. ``He killed seven dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen militants and walked out of the ambush unscathed. But when one of his men was trapped and injured, he walked back into enemy fire with guns blazing all around him to rescue the injured soldier. Officers of the Air Defence Artillery spoke of his bravery,'' Sundara Raman, the major's brother-in-law said. Major Sri Kumar was seriously injured in the rescue attempt when a volley of enemy bullets hit his chest. ``The injured soldier survived. But Major Sri Kumar made the supreme sacrifice of his life for the nation,'' an officer said. Having graduated in science from Delhi University, the young Sri Kumar was keen to join the Army. Even though his father S Padmanabha Ayyar, an official of the Employees State Insurance Corporation and his mother Parimala realised the implications of their son's decision, not once did they oppose him. The fact that Sri Kumar was their only son did not deter them. ``He was very brave. He joined the 142 Air Defence Regiment and was posted in Kota in Rajasthan. His wife Annapoorna, a computer software engineer, had given birth to a son

only in November. Even before his son was born, Major Sri Kumar knew he would be posted to Jammu and Kashmir but he did not tell us. He did not want anybody to panic. Only when his son was born did Major Sri Kumar tell us that he was going back to Jammu and Kashmir, not to Kota,'' Raman said.He was so respected and renowned for his bravery that the Commanding Officer of the Rashtriya Rifles gave him special leave to attend his son's first birthday. At the airport where the family waited for the body of the hero to be flown in the officers who knew him spoke of his courage, devotion and bravery.

Major

Ranbir

Katoch

(7

RR)

Op

Rakshak

NEW DELHI, Aug 24 Major Ranbir Katoch of 7 Rashtriya Rifles, affiliated to the Punjab Regiment, was killed while trying to save his men during a counter insurgency operations at Sungan village in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on Saturday. Two hardcore Pakistani militants identified as Yasin and Omar Sharief (code name), who were coordinating the IED explosions in South Kashmir, were also killed and a large quantity of weapons and ammunitions recovered. On August 21, after getting specific information about the presence of militants in the area the unit launched an operation to nab them. A search party led by Major Katoch reached the location after a seven hour march over mountains in pitch darkness to maintain surprise.In the morning, while searching the area his company column came under heavy automatic fire from universal machine gun (UMG) and AK-56 rifles.Realising the danger to his men he along with his party rushed to cut off and pin down the militants. During the encounter the gallant officer unmindful of his personal safety engaged the militants with heavy fire. During the gun battle he got seriously injured but in a daring act of bravery he charged the militants and killed them. The whole encounter lasted for more than three hours. Major Ranbir Katoch born on June 26, 1970, did his schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Delhi Cantonment. He graduated from Ramjas College, Delhi University and joined the Indian Military Academy where he was commissioned on December 11, 1993 in the Air Defence Regiment. He was on deputation to 7 Rashtriya Rifles (Punjab) since December 1998. He was promoted to the rank of Acting Major only 12 days before he made the supreme sacrifice. He married Deepa on December 1, 1998. Major Katoch belonged to a family associated with the Army. His father late Major PC Katoch was a Rajputana Rifles Officer. Originally the family belongs to Bhullana village in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. The family resides in Hari Nagar. His father-in-law Col B S Pathania is a retired EME officer and mother-in-law Col (Mrs) Pathania retired from the Army Medical Corps. They reside at NOIDA.

Captain Arun Singh Jasrotia (9 Para SF) - Op Rakshak

Ashok Chakra, the nations highest gallantry award during peace-time, has been awarded to two brave paratroopersCapt Arun Jasrotia and Maj Sudhir Kumar Walia in 1996 and 2000 respectively. In fact, 9 Para (SF) Battalion, to which they belonged, has been awarded the singular honour "Bravest of the Brave" by the Chief of the Army Staff in 2001. Capt Arun Jasrotia displayed grit and courage as he led his troops in a raid on a militant camp on September 15, 1995 where nearly 20 foreign mercenaries were holed up in the Lolab Valley. Finding his men in a disadvantageous position under rocket and rifle fire, Arun led the assault culminating in a fierce hand-to-hand fight. Despite multiple injuries, he pressed on with the assault and accounted for a number of militants, before a bullet ended his life. Old soldier never died, soul lives on at Indian army outpost

NATHU LA, India (AFP) - Sepoy Harbhajan Singh of the 23rd Punjab Regiment reported back for duty this week at this Indo-Chinese border outpost, 26 years after he died. Accompanied by luggage, the departed soul is taking a holiday back home courtesy of a first class train ticket paid for by the Indian army's 17th Mountain Division. "It is an annual trip that Baba (saint) makes and now he has returned," said an army captain on Wednesday. Today an honorary captain after several posthumous promotions, the Sikh soldier drowned in a stream in 1968 while accompanying a mule column along the border in the Himalayan mountain state of Sikkim. Years later, a regimental officer claimed that Singh appeared to him, revealing where his body was buried under snow. The army built a memorial on the spot and today proudly maintains the shrine visited by thousands of pilgrims each summer. However, it could be the last year for the spiritual homecoming as Singh was due to retire from the army in 2005.

"Already there is a crowd of devotees at his temple here," following Monday's ceremonial resumption of duty, said the army captain who identified himself only as Rathore. "Baba's return is special for soldiers and civilians alike," he explained at the 14,500-foot (4,400-metre) high Nathu La pass where India and China fought a bloody battle in 1962. The army even sends a soldier to escort the Baba on furlough. A military vehicle also ferries the spirit from his post to the railway station, Rathore added. The escort stands beside an empty berth in a reserved carriage all the way from distant northern India. "Both civilians and troops believe that it is his spirit that has ensured a ceasefire between Indian and Chinese forces here," another officer said. Singh is also credited with healing powers and revered as a saint by soldiers and locals alike at the chilly outpost of Nathu La, one of six Indian-held passes in the northeastern state. The Mountain Division worships the soldier and continues to pay his monthly wages of 2,500 rupees (50 dollars) to his parents in the northern town of Kapurthala. In the modest officer's mess near the shrine, a stuffed chair is reserved for the dead man, while living colleagues have to make do with plastic chairs. A reversed gun mounted on cement stands as his memorial outside the temple maintained by a team of junior commissioned officers. India and China exchanged artillery fire at Nathu La in August 1967, five years after the border war which gave the Indian army a bloody nose. The big guns have since fallen silent.

Brig Rajinder Singh: The Saviour of Kashmir


Come October and we remember Brig Rajinder Singh, MVC, (Posthumous) the Saviour of Kashmir. He was born on 14th June 1899 at Village Baguna (now Rajinder Pura) and Commissioned on 14th June 1921. he became Brig in May 1942 and took over as Chief of Staff J and K State Forces from Maj Gen H L Scot on 24th Sep 1947 when the State was, in fact an Independent Country. When Pakistan attacked Kashmir on 22th Oct 1947 and Maharaja Hari Singh was informed about the fall of Mazaffrabad. He ordered Brig Rajinder Singh:Brig Rajinder Singh is commanded to hold the enemy at Uri at all costs and to the last man. Accordingly Brig Rajinder Singh proceeded towards Muzaffrabad with a small Force of Hundred men. After inflicting heavy casualties on the invaders numbering 6,000 at Garhi he decided to blow Uri bridge and delay the Pakistani forces to enable Maharaja Hari Singh to carry out Accession Parleys so that Indian Army could move in to ultimately save the State

and throw the invaders out. After demolishing Uri Bridge he fought delaying actions at Uri, Mahura and Rampur inflicting heavy casualties to gain four days till he was ambushed at Buniyar on the night of 26/27th Oct 1947 and fately wounded but not before achieving a miracle, as the Indian Army landed within six hours after his last action to save the State. Thus we see Brig Rajinder Singh achieving the impossible as ordered by his Ruler To the Last Man, literally being the last man setting an example for the World which remains unparalled. It was also in Oct 1947, i.e. 26th Oct when Maharaja Hari Singh acceded J and K to the Indian Union after Brig Rajinder Singh his Chief of Staff had saved Kashmir. Brig Rajinder Singh thus became the Saviour of Kashmir and was awarded the first Gallantry Award of Independent India posthumously. Now the contribution of Brig Rajinder Singh to the making of the Modern India, Maharaja Gulab Singh had founded this unique State which included the most Strategic area of the World now called the Northern Areas which was acceded to India on 26 Oct 1947 through Accession made possible by Brig Rajinder Singh. Maharaja Hari Singh has also contributed in making the present History. Firstly the Dogra rulers never allowed a foot hold to the British in spite of many attempts to take over the control of the State particularly during Maharaja Partap Singhs times. Even during World War II when the Britishers wanted the control of the strategic Gilgit Maharaja Hari Singh gave the area of Gilgit only on lease for 40 years which was returned by the British Govt. of India just before Independence in Jul 1947 when Maharaja Hari Singh sent Brig Ghansara Singh as Governor of Gilgit who continued to be the Governor till 1st Nov 1947even after the invasion of Kashmir by Pakistan on 21st Oct 1947 where Brig Rajinder Singh the Chief of Staff of J and K State Forces delayed their advance for four days upto 26 Oct. On the day of Accession Gilgit was with us and was acceded to India. Again it was possible due to Brig Rajinder Singhs action to Save Kashmir. Only if the Indian Govt. had sent a company worth troops to Gilgit before 1st Nov 1947 Gilgit and Baltistan would have never been lost as Pakistan never conquered these areas. It was Maj Brown Commander of the Gilgit Scouts serving under the Governor of Gilgit who had revolted and arrested the Governor on 1st Nov and handed over the entire area of Baltistan to Pakistan without a fight. Thus Maharaja Hari Singhs contribution by signing the Instrument of Accession legally and constitutionally acceding the entire State to the Indian Union is his unique contribution in making of the History which in fact is the only legal authority for India to hold on to the State or ultimately to retrieve the lost areas, may be in the 21st century itself as the events are unfurling. Who made it possible. It was Brig Rajinder Singh. Today we pay tribute to the Saviour of the State, Brig Rajinder Singh, MVC (Posthumous), recipient of the Independent Nations first Gallantry Award for which the State is justifiably proud. It is worth recalling two tributes paid to him on his Birth Centenary Celebrated by the State from 14th Jun 1999 to 14th Jun 2000 immediately after the Kargil War. These tributes are quoted for the younger generation:Tributes paid by Dr. Farooq Abdullah the, then Chief Minister now Minister for Renewable Energy. Today we are remembering Brig Rajinder Singh Ji. We are also getting an opportunity to remember officers and soldiers who have defended our State so far, so that we can sleep in peace. They are prepared to lay down their lives in our defence. God alone knows how

many more may have become martyrs today so that we can live in peace. It is very necessary to remember them and also remember their difficulties. If we have attained and preserved our freedom it is only due to the sacrifices of brave soldiers like Brig Rajinder Singh. Brig Rajinder Singhs MVC is being upgraded to Param Vir Chakra, but for him even Bharat Ratna is less. I feel that in future we must make a Veer Memorial. The Veer Memorial should be so grand and imposing that we all go to it on 15th Aug and 26th Jan to pay our homage there. I would also like all newly married couples irrespective of whether they are Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs as a first step in their newly married life to go to Veer Memorial. There they should bow their heads in reverence to all those who gave their blood and sacrificed themselves and be thankful to them. It was they who enabled the newly weds to start their new lives in peace. Dr. Karan Singh, MP, Former Union Minister and Sadar-i-Riyasat J and K State, while paying tributes to Brig Rajinder Singh said he was indeed a Hero of our times, having gallantly held off the invaders for several days, thus preventing the Kashmir valley from falling into hostile hands before the instrument of Accession could be signed.

Havildar Abdul Hamid 4 Grenadier (Assal Uttar)


In an unkempt one-acre compound, a worn, green cloth covers a modest grave. Crumbling bricks try to peg down the cloth as the wind blows in, scattering leaves all around. At Assal Uttar (Befitting Reply), only a dull plaque records the heroics of Param Vir Chakra Abdul Hamid. A Company Quarter Master Havildar in 4 Grenadiers, he single-handedly stood up to Pakistani tanks in Indias most famous win during the 1965 war. Today, only the leaves keep him company. Very few come this way to read the plaque which immortalises his brave deeds in Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu. The room of the caretaker is locked, the boundary wall doesnt look too strong. Theres very little here to suggest that this memorial for one of the countrys greatest heroes was erected as late as 1994. The only time this place gets some visitors is on his death anniversary every September 10, says 70-year-old Kashmir Singh, a resident of Cheema village just a stones throw away from the memorial. The lone caretaker deputed by Army authorities for the upkeep of the memorial is seldom present, says Singh. But I keep an eye on the grave, he says. Hamids story is folklore in the surrounding villages, but thats not because of this memorialits because of people like Kashmir Singh who survived the war. The way the Pakistan army came in, we thought they would capture us all. But then they made a mistake. They mistook Amarkot, a town two kms from here, for Bhikhiwind and

took the main road to advance towards Amritsar. On the way, Hamid halted their assault and gave them the Assal Uttar, he says. Fauja Singh recalls how Hamid blew up the Patton tank leading the Pakistani charge. He killed the Pakistani commander, and blew up several tanks before being felled by enemy bullets. A year later, Hamid was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously. The remembrance stone at the grave records his bravery and the gratitude of the the adjacent villages of Bhura Kuhna, Cheema, Ansal, Bhura Kareempur, Amarkot and Valtoha. But sadly, the memorial doesnt reflect it. Memorial to Shaitan Singh & his mens 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. Thats 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. Theres no sign of the chowkidar. The central structure is crowned by a finger holding the Sudarshan Chakrathe 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 Kumaons three companiesMajor Shaitan Singhs Charlie company was at Rezang Lacame 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 spots remoteness from Gurung Hill and Magar Hill also precluded the possibility of assistance. From the very beginning, Singhs mission was doomed to failure. With an advancing Chinese MMG unit mowing down Singhs 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 Narayanans 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 Ministers Office, who was formerly press secretary to Narayanan. Gopi expressed his desire to come to Delhi to attend his former bosss 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.

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.

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 PakistanKashmir 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.

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 (Vikrams 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 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.

'He led from the front, even when he didnt 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 mothers 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-Toibas commander in Kashmir, was hiding in Rafiabads Chatloora village, Kadam could not sit back and watch. He was leading from the front even when he w as 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 officers 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 militants 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 Kadams colu mn, 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 officers 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. Johns 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. Thomass 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. Thomass 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. Thomass body was brought by an Indian Airlines flight from New Delhi on Saturday. On Monday, Col. Thomass body will be taken to St. Johns Church in Domlur. He will be buried at the cemetery on Hosur Road with full State honours.