10 stories of grit and valour that inspire a billion
Colonel Santosh Babu, the Commanding Officer of 16 Bihar regiment who lost his life during the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese PLA personnel last year, will be posthumously awarded Maha Vir Chakra on Republic Day. On the eve of Republic Day, the government announced Gallantry Awards that honour acts of bravery and sacrifice of the officers/personnel of the Armed Forces. Here are some stories of valour that will forever remain etched in the hearts and minds of a billion Indians.
COLONEL BIKUMALLA SANTOSH BABU
MAHA VIR CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)
16TH BATTALION, BIHAR REGIMENT
Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu, Commanding Officer 16 BIHAR deployed in Galwan Valley (Eastern Ladakh) during Operation SNOW LEOPARD, was tasked to establish an Observation Post in face of the enemy. Organising and briefing his troops about the situation with a sound plan, he successfully executed the task.
While holding the position his column faced stiff resistance from the adversary who attacked using lethal and sharp weapons along with heavy stone pelting from adjoining heights. Undaunted by the violent and aggressive action by the overwhelming strength of enemy soldiers, the officer in the true spirit of service before self, continued to resist the enemy’s attempt to pushback Indian troops.
Despite being grievously injured, Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu led from the front with absolute command and control despite hostile conditions to deter the vicious enemy attack at his position. In the skirmish that broke out and ensuing hand to hand combat with enemy soldiers, he valiantly resisted the enemy attack till his last breath, inspiring and motivating his troops to hold ground.
SUBEDAR SANJIV KUMAR
KIRTI CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)
4TH BATTALION, THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT
Subedar Sanjiv Kumar was enrolled into the Parachute Regiment on August 30, 1996. The Junior Commissioned Officer has had multiple tenures along the Line of Control and has also served with the elite National Security Guard.
On April 4, 2020, Subedar Sanjiv Kumar was the leading squad commander of the Special Forces detachment which was helicopter-dropped in the Keran Sector (Jammu & Kashmir) to intercept and eliminate an infiltration track of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.
After being heli-dropped, Subedar Sanjiv Kumar along with his squad began to track the foot trails of the infiltrating terrorists. After wading through waist-deep snow for over five hours, his squad homed on to the likely location of the terrorists. As the squad was discreetly closing in towards their target, the leading scouts of the squad stepped on an ice ledge which gave in and both the scouts fell into the nullah where hiding terrorists opened indiscriminate fire injuring both scouts.
Subedar Sanjiv Kumar along with his buddy immediately surged ahead into the nullah to rescue them. While his buddy provided covering fire, Subedar Sanjiv unmindful of his personal safety, under intense fire from the terrorists evacuated one of the scouts from the contact site. He then moved forward to retrieve the other scout when he came under intense fire from the hiding terrorist. Realising the imminent danger to his squad members, Subedar Sanjiv charged towards the hiding terrorists and neutralised one terrorist at very close range.
Thereafter, Subedar Sanjiv in a daring act crawled towards the other terrorists and engaged them in a hand to hand combat seriously injuring them. In the intense close-quarter fight that ensued Subedar Sanjiv Kumar sustained a gunshot wound from which he later succumbed.
NAIB SUBEDAR NUDURAM SOREN
VIR CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)
16TH BATTALION, BIHAR REGIMENT
Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren during Operation SNOW LEOPARD deployed in Galwan Valley (Eastern Ladakh) valiantly led his column and resisted the enemy’s attempt to push back the Indian soldiers establishing an Observation Post.
He organised his column, countered the adversary forcefully and stopped them in their attempt to push back Indian troops. During the skirmish, he was viewed as a daunting leader and was targeted by enemy soldiers with lethal and sharp weapons. Being grievously injured when asked to move back, as a true leader he refused, in spite of being heavily outnumbered by the enemy soldiers.
The Junior Leader stood at the forefront under hostile conditions and displayed raw courage, fighting with resolute spirit in a hand to hand combat, before succumbing to his injuries. The gallant action by the Junior Commissioned Officer resulted in a positive response which overwhelmed the enemy by surprise. His action speeded own retaliation and also galvanised own troops to continue to hold ground.
HAVILDAR K PALANI
VIR CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)
81 FIELD REGIMENT
Havildar (Gunner) K Palani was deployed in Galwan Valley (Eastern Ladakh) as part of Operation SNOW LEOPARD. On the night of June 15, 2020, he was part of the patrol of 16 BIHAR tasked to establish an Observation Post. In a close hand to hand fight, he fought valiantly and saved his subordinates from the aggressive action of the enemy soldiers.
Suddenly, the adversaries outnumbered and encircled him, with utter disregard to his personal safety, he stood bravely and tried to defend his comrades even when the enemy attacked him with sharp weapon injuring him seriously. His act of valour inspired other fellow soldiers to fight fiercely and resist enemy aggression.
In spite of his grievous injuries, he continued to hold his ground resolutely and in the finest traditions of the Indian Army, laid down his life for the motherland.
HAVILDAR TEJINDER SINGH
3 MEDIUM REGIMENT
On June 15, 2020, Havildar Tejinder Singh of 3 Medium Regiment was part of the Regimental column deployed at Galwan Valley (Eastern Ladakh). He was leading his column against the enemy resistance. Subsequently, the standoff turned violent and resulted in a hand to hand fight.
Concomitantly, a large enemy reinforcement joined in, thereby massively tipping the numbers in their favour. Undeterred by the numerical superiority of the enemy, the Non-Commissioned Officer took on the enemy in a hand to hand fight and resisted them gallantly.
He also organised a group of soldiers to effectively thwart several enemy soldiers displaying exemplary leadership. This gallant act was pivotal in inspiring their own troops to effectively engage the enemy troops during the violent standoff. The Non-Commissioned Officer kept on leading his column valiantly and fought fearlessly till he was grievously injured.
NAIK DEEPAK SINGH
VIR CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)
ARMY MEDICAL CORPS/16TH BATTALION THE BIHAR REGIMENT
Naik Deepak Singh was performing duties of Battalion Nursing Assistant. During Operation SNOW LEOPARD, he provided treatment to casualties of the skirmish at Galwan valley (Eastern Ladakh). Having assessed the battle condition, he moved up for immediate medical support.
As the skirmish broke out and casualties increased, he moved to frontline rendering First Aid to own injured soldiers. In the ensuing skirmish coupled with heavy stone-pelting, he received serious injuries, but undeterred and tirelessly, he continued to provide medical aid.
The enemy outnumbered Indian troops and he was injured while carrying out his duty. In spite of grievous wounds by the enemy, he continued rendering medical assistance to injured soldiers and saved many lives. He finally succumbed to his injuries.
SEPOY GURTEJ SINGH
VIR CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)
RD BATTALION, THE PUNJAB REGIMENT
Sepoy Late Gurtej Singh, during Operation SNOW LEOPARD in Galwan Valley (Eastern Ladakh), on June 15, 2020, was performing the duties of the scout of his Operational Patrol and was tasked to establish an Observation Post. He successfully spotted the enemy troops building up against the Indian troops while establishing the Observation Post.
The faceoff between the two sides turned into a violent skirmish in which the enemy troops attempted to push back the Indian troops. In the ensuing clash, the enemy soldiers used lethal weapons and heavily outnumbered our own troops.
Sep Gurtej Singh displayed undaunted bravery, raw courage and exceptional combat skills in resisting the enemy troops in a fierce hand to hand combat. He himself got seriously injured. However, with utter disregard to his personal safety, he continued to fight the enemy valiantly and also extricated own injured troops, thereby saving a number of fellow soldiers of his patrol party before making the supreme sacrifice.
MAJOR ANUJ SOOD
SHAURYA CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)
21ST BATTALION, RASHTRIYA RIFLES
Major Anuj Sood had been operating as a Company Commander in 21 Rashtriya Rifles in Kupwara District of Jammu & Kashmir. On May 1, 2020, on receiving information of two terrorists in Watsar Forest, he launched an operation to intercept them.
On spotting the terrorists, the officer challenged them but the terrorists fired back indiscriminately and escaped. The officer restrained own fire and saved the lives of civilians stuck in the crossfire. The terrorist's location was re-established on May 2, 2020, at Chanjimula and the officer himself deployed the close cordon at the suspected house.
In an act of conspicuous bravery, he along with Commanding Officer and three others moved inside the target house to evacuate civilian hostages. Unmindful of his personal safety the officer relentlessly fired upon and pinned down hardcore terrorists resulting in the evacuation of three civilian hostages.
In an attempt to extricate the remaining two civilian hostages, he physically assaulted and injured one local terrorist, thus saving the lives of the two hostages. During this gallant act, the officer sustained multiple gunshot wounds and sacrificed his life.
RIFLEMAN PRANAB JYOTI DAS
Rifleman Pranab Jyoti Das was part of an operation in South Arunachal Pradesh which was launched based on a specific intelligence input regarding presence of six hardcore insurgents.
At 0410 hours, during a search of the target area, Rifleman (General Duty) Pranab Jyoti Das spotted an insurgent 70 meters from the target location. On being challenged, the insurgent tried to break the cordon by firing indiscriminately. Sensing grave danger to own troops Rifleman (General Duty) Pranab Jyoti Das eliminated one insurgent.
Remaining insurgents also opened a heavy volume of fire which resulted in grievous injury to one of the soldiers. Displaying great tactical acumen Rifleman (General Duty) Pranab Jyoti Das in a gallant move came out of cover and evacuated the injured personnel to safety. Rifleman (General Duty) Pranab Jyoti Das continued to engage the
insurgents from the close quarters and eliminated another insurgent.
PARATROOPER SONAM TSHERING TAMANG
Paratrooper Sonam Tshering Tamang was enrolled into the Parachute Regiment on June 28, 2014, and has been operating in OP RAKSHAK ever since. On April 4, 2020, Paratrooper Sonam Tshering Tamang was part of the Special Forces detachment which was helicopter-dropped in the Keran Sector (Jammu & Kashmir) to intercept and eliminate an infiltrating column of terrorists.
After wading through waist-deep snow for over five hours, the squad successfully established contact with the terrorists. In the intense close-quarter firefight that ensued, both the squad commander Subedar Sanjiv Kumar and Paratrooper Amit Kumar sustained a gunshot wound and the remainder of the squad was out of communication.
Paratrooper Sonam Tshering Tamang after carrying out a quick mental survey of the situation moved ahead tactically to evacuate his squad commander. He successfully evacuated his squad commander under intense fire from the terrorists. Paratrooper Amit Kumar was injured and was pinned down by accurate fire from the terrorists.
Sensing grave danger to his buddy, Paratrooper Sonam Tshering Tamang in a daring act crawled towards the boulder and killed one terrorist with accurate rifle fire at close quarters. He then lobbed a grenade at a fleeing terrorist and injured him grievously.
Paratrooper Sonam Tshering Tamang displayed raw courage and utmost gallantry in eliminating one hardcore terrorist, injuring one other terrorist and evacuating Subedar Sanjiv Kumar to safety. He maintained his composure and fought with nerves of steel under the most adverse circumstances wherein all other squad members of his detachment were killed in action.