Heroes Recall Epic Battle
August 14 (Soni Sangwan)
heroes are back. Almost 50 who fought in the Batalik
sector have been recommended for gallantry awards,
which could be announced on the Independence Day.
Here are their reminiscences.
Crawling up a
craggy mountain, 22-year-old Lt Pradhan of 2
Engineers had cleared 125 landmines. But as he
searched for the 126th, it went off. Enemy fire made
it impossible to evacuate him. For six hours, he lay
bleeding, ultimately losing both hands and an
For 48 hours,
Major Jaggi of 5 Para lay with his left leg blown
off. Only on the third night could the enemy be
neutralised. "Donít inform my parents, they
are heart patients," he told the doctors.
Amol Kalia was
killed in intense hand-to-hand combat, and his body
lay with those of six others. "Retrieving them
became as important for morale as capturing the
feature," says Maj V Pathak. "In the dark,
while others gave me covering fire, I put the bodies
in sleeping bags, tied them together and slid them
down the cliff. When we returned, each man was
carrying a body."
Mehta of 12 J&K Light Infantry spent 30 days
atop a snowclad peak at 17,000 feet. The enemy was
on a facing peak, and constantly engaged them.
Contact with base came once a day through the food
carriers. When shelling was too heavy, even this was
puris and aloo sabzi, carried in plastic shell
casings, were our meals. Civilian porters and troops
climbed all night to reach us before daybreak. They
also brought letters from home," recalls an
infiltrators were well supplied. When Gorkhas took
Point 5287, they found fresh meat ready for cooking.
They did it full justice.
never had to wake up - because you hadnít gone to
sleep. You attacked at night, did sentry duty and
completed your ablutions before daybreak," says
Over the 10
weeks, many fell victim to diarrhoea. Living in
holes in the cliff faces, even brushing teeth was a
luxury. "The single source of water, the
stream, soon became contaminated. Chilblains and
pulmonary oedema also affected some," he
that chilblains can degenerate into frostbite and
gangrene, the troops of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles would not
report them as they thought it cowardly. Officers
had to physically check each soldierís feet.
men was Lt Manoj Pandey, who destroyed four bunkers
and killed 11 before falling himself. Commanding
officer Col Lalit Rai suffered injuries but held on
for 25 hours. When ammunition fell short, khukris
flashed. And so the war was won.
Courtesy: HINDUSTAN TIMES