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Friday, July 26, 2013

Saluting our Armed Forces on "Kargil Vijay Diwas" - Param Vir Chakra winner : Yogendra Singh Yadav

This is the day when we must remember Yogendra Singh Yadav  and a host of others who gave their tomorrows for our today…  26th July is a very important day for the Nation and all of us……. Today is the  ~Kargil Vijay Diwas, the day   of successful completion of Operation Vijay. On this day, 26 July 1999, India successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July.  This did result in the loss of lives but not the honour of the Nation.

Great People – Country must remember the Names -  :  Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Amol Kalia, Captain Manoj Pande, Captain P.V.Vikram, Captain Vikram Batra, Deputy Commander Sukhbir Singh Yadav, Driver-Soldier Gopinath Moharana,  Flight Engineer Raj Kishore Sahoo, Grenadiar Amardeep, Grenadiar Bajinder Singh Naik Surjeet Singh, Naik Subedar Lal Chand, Naik Vikram Singh, Naik Yoginder Singh, Rifleman Ansuya Prasad Dhayani, Rifleman Bachan Singh, Subedar Sumer Singh Rathore, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir, Squadron Leader Lal Singh, Squadron Leader Ojha, Zrfn Man Singh,  Kaushal Yadav in the history books of the school curriculum.   The illustrious list includes all the  527 heroes who sacrificed their future for protecting the honour of the Nation….. yes these are some of the names of Indian jawans and officers who made the supreme sacrifice in the battle field of Kargil.

Kargil War was fought on the high glaciers of Himalayas between May and July 1999 – 14 years ago.  During that time Pak soldiers infiltrated and after valiant fight, India recaptured the positions, in exhibiting the highest valour in high altitude warfare in mountainous terrains.  Tiger Hill or Point 5353, a mountain in the Drass-Kargil area of Jammu & Kashmir, India was the subject of the most famous battle.    It was the  highest peak in the sector, the Pakistani forces who held the peak could easily see the military headquarters of the 56 Brigade, the main Indian force in charge of the area. The Pakistanis could also watch the Srinagar-Leh Highway, the main supply route of the Kargil Sector, and relay information of troop and supply movements to their superiors. Indian artillery started shelling Tiger Hill to force the enemy to keep their head down, while the 18 Grenadiers, 2 Naga, and 8 Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army got ready to attack Tiger Hill. The main tactic was the most difficult ever employed on an open battlefield.  An Indian contingent assault team successfully claimed this back…….. the hero was  Yogendra Singh Yadav  who  survived 15 bullets while capturing Tiger Hill.   Yadav was a member of the 'ghatak' (assault) commando platoon which captured three strategic bunkers on Tiger Hill overlooking the Drass-Kargil road on the night of July 3-4, 1999.

I had on the previous years lamented that if one were to search on this day ~the 26th of July – the headlines of papers do not mention about Kargil but many other ordinary things take the centre stage….. War need not be about sorrow all the time… last year, Indian Express had this newsitem – a happy and inspiring story at that…….. of  Jayant and Urmila Mijar,  who happily sent their only son to join the army. Their illustrious son  Colonel Prasad Mijar did them and the Nation proud returning victorious with the message that "Every child in this country must join the Armed Forces,”.  Zee also carries the news that our Defence Minister AK Antony paid tribute to Kargil martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the Kargil war on Friday in New Delhi. Chiefs of Army, Navy & Air Force also joined the nation to pay homage to the soldiers who laid down their lives during the Indo-Pak war in Kargil in 1999. 

Naib Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav  of the 18 Grenadiers was part of the Commando 'Ghatak' (Deadly or Lethal) Platoon tasked to capture three strategic bunkers on Tiger Hill in the early morning hours of 4 July 1999. The bunkers were situated at the top of a vertical, snow-covered, 16,500 foot high cliff face. Grenadier Yadav, volunteering to lead the assault, was climbing the cliff face and fixing the ropes for further assault on the feature. Halfway up, an enemy bunker opened up machine gun and rocket fire, killing the platoon commander and two others. In spite of having been hit by three bullets in his groin and shoulder, Yadav climbed the remaining 60 feet and reached the top. Though severely injured, he crawled to the first bunker and lobbed a grenade, killing four Pakistani soldiers and neutralizing enemy fire. This gave the rest of the platoon the opportunity to climb up the cliff face.  Yadav then charged the second bunker along with two of his fellow soldiers and engaged in hand-to-hand combat, killing four Pakistani soldiers. The platoon subsequently succeeded in capturing Tiger Hill. For his sustained display of bravery, Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest medal for gallantry.

Grenadier Yogender Singh Yadav displayed the most conspicuous courage, indomitable gallantry, grit and determination under extreme adverse circumstances ~ reads the citation….. actually, the The Param Vir Chakra was announced for Yadav posthumously, but it was soon discovered that he was recuperating in a hospital, and it was his namesake that had been slain in the mission. The Indian Army also initiated  a high-level inquiry into the "unpardonable mistake" of declaring one of the Param Vir Chakra winners, Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, dead, though he was convalescing in an army hospital in New Delhi. The army chief  himself rushed to the Base Hospital on Sunday afternoon with gifts and apologies.

Param Vir Chakra awardees : Sanjay Kumar; Yogendra Yadav and Bana Singh

Today, certainly is the day to remember the heroic acts and sacrifices of our Jawans and remember them with pride.

Jai Jawan ~ long live our armed forces

Respectfully Saluting them….     S. Sampathkumar

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