Captain Amol Kalia
Capt Amol Kalia and his 13 gallant menThe
recapture of a key position in the Batalik sector yesterday by Capt Amol
Kalia and 13 of his men, all of whom died, was one of the bravest acts
seen in the Kargil sector in the ongoing operations against Pakistani soldiers
soldiers were killed before the 14 Indian troops from the Jammu and Kashmir
Light Infantry and parachute commandos laid down their lives on the north-western
slopes of the position at a height of about 16,000 feet after seven hours
of intense fighting.
Shaheed Captain Amol Kalia's parents decorating their son on passing
army spokesman Col Bikram Singh, the Pakistanis were well-entrenched and
had made a number of field fortifications. Since the infiltrators had covered
most of the approaches by fire, the Indian troops, in the face of intense
shooting and heavy odds, scaled the objective and reached the top employing
specialised mountaineering techniques.
The enemy counter-attacked
the position during the early hours yesterday in which the light machine
gun detachment personnel accompanying Capt Kalia were killed. Capt Kalia
was seriously wounded but, showing exemplary courage, he picked up the
LMG and charged at the Pakistanis killing four of them. Later he succumbed
''In this operation,
Capt Kalia along with 13 other ranks made the supreme sacrifice in the
highest traditions of the Indian Army. But for the selfless devotion to
duty marked with exemplary courage displayed by these gallant soldiers,
the recapture of this vital position would not have been possible'', Col
Kalia family in grief
AMOL KALIA, 25
12 Jammu and
Kashmir Light Infantry
A specialist in mountain warfare, Kalia and his men were fighting for survival
after being attacked. He grabbed a machine-gun and fought off the enemy
before being shot.
Usha Sharma woke
up in the night on June 9 with a feeling of unease. She shook her husband
awake and they talked about their two sons, Flt-Lieutenant Aman Kalia and
his younger brother Captain Amol Kalia. Three days later the premonition
became a reality when newspapers reported that Amol had died at the end
of a seven-hour-long offensive giving the Indian Army a "vital victory"
in the fight for the heights of Kargil.
about me. I hope to be back in Delhi by the end of this month. Then you
can fix my marriage in case you all are in a hurry." The letter from Amol
reached his parents in Punjab's Nangal town on June 9. That was the evening
their son and 40 of his men were fighting a fierce hand-to-hand battle
against Pakistani intruders on an 18,000-ft high icy ridge codenamed position
5302 in Kargil-Yaldor. Air-dropped the previous day, Amol and his unit,
specialists in mountain warfare, suddenly found themselves fighting for
survival as enemy units poured in. Desperate for a light machine gun (LMG)
after his two gunners were cut down, Amol managed to reach his downed colleague.
He got the LMG, turned it around and mowed down about 20 infiltrators.
He had no chance. The army suffered one of its heaviest casualties that
day: Amol and 12 other ranks were killed. But two days later, the ridge
Amol's body hasn't
yet been retrieved from the snow-bound battlefield, but his bravery is
already legend in his home which has never seen such a mass outpouring
of grief and pride. Its shrine is N-19, a nondescript house in the Bhakra
Beas Management Board colony. Hundreds of mourners converge there every
day as the town waits for the remains of its first National Defence Academy
graduate. "Visiting Amol's house has become a sort of pilgrimage," says
a 60-year-old resident. Processions of charged residents meander through
town; even the rickshaw-wallahs organised one. Inside the house, packed
with mourners, they watch as the local cable operator shows clips on Amol
to the accompaniment of patriotic songs. "I could never imagine he could
be so brave, for me he was still a kid," says S.P. Sharma, Amol's father,
a school master. "I salute you my son," he sobs. He's reconciled to the
loss, but "the wait for his body is agonising".
The army was
never a big tradition in Amol's middle-class family, but he was dogged
in his desire for an adventurous life. Nangal's hero has now become an
inspiration to the town's young and restless. To their traditional choices
of engineering and medicine, add a new rival: a life in the army.
highest wartime gallantry award VIR CHAKRA was awarded to Squadren Leader
Ajay Ahuja on 15th August 1999.