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HEROES OF KARGIL
PART 1

KARGIL WAR

• Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers disguised as Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the LOC.

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• During the initial stages of the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan’s Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces,led by General Ashraf Rashid.

• The Indian Army, later supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LOC infiltrated by the Pakistani troops and militants. Facing international diplomatic opposition, the Pakistani forces withdrew from the remaining Indian positions along the LOC.

BACKROUND

• After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, there had been a long period with relatively few direct armed conflicts involving the military forces of the two neighbours.

• During the 1990s, however, escalating tensions and conflict due to separatist activities in Kashmir, some of which were supported by Pakistan, as well as the conducting of nuclear tests by both countries in 1998, led to an increasingly belligerent atmosphere.

• In an attempt to defuse the situation, both countries signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999, promising to provide a peaceful and bilateral solution to the Kashmir conflict.

• During the winter of 1998–1999, some elements of the Pakistani Armed Forces were covertly training and sending Pakistani troops and paramilitary forces, some allegedly in the guise of mujahideen, into territory on the Indian side of the LOC.

BACKGROUND

• Its aim was to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh, and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier, thus forcing India to negotiate a settlement of the broader Kashmir dispute.

• Some analysts believe that the blueprint of attack was reactivated soon after Pervez Musharraf was appointed chief of army staff in October 1998.

• After the war, Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan during the Kargil conflict, claimed that he was unaware of the plans, and that he first learned about the situation when he received an urgent phone call from Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his counterpart in India.
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CAPTAIN SAURABH KALIA

• Lt Saurabh Kalia was the first Indian army officer to observe and report large-scale intrusion of Pakistani Army and foreign mercenaries on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) at Kargil. He assumed guard of “Bajrang Post” at 13,000– 14,000 feet to check infiltration in the Kaksar area.

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• On 15 May 1999 Lt Saurabh Kalia and five other soldiers – Sepoys Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh of the 4 Jat Regiment had gone for a routine patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector in.

• After a continuous cross fire with Pakistan armed forces from across the LOC, he and his troops ran out of ammunition. They were finally encircled by a platoon of Pakistani rangers and captured alive before Indian reinforcements could reach them. No trace of the patrol was left torture

HEROES OF KARGIL

• It was after this that India discovered hundreds of guerrillas had established fortified positions on the peaks of the hills deep inside the Indian side of the Line of control, with sophisticated equipment and supply lines back to Pakistancontrolled Kashmir.

• Lt Saurabh Kalia and his men were in captivity from 15 May 1999 – 7 June 1999 (over twenty-two days), and subjected to torture as evident from injuries to their bodies when they were handed over by the Pakistani Army on 9 June 1999.

• Post-mortem examinations revealed that the Pakistanis had tortured their prisoners by: burning their bodies with cigarettes, piercing the ear-drums with hot rods, puncturing eyes before removing them, breaking most of their teeth and bones, fracturing their skulls, cutting the lips, chipping of nose, chopping off limbs and private organs of the soldiers, and finally shooting them dead.

• On 9 June 1999, N. K. Kalia received the body of his son.

AFTERMATH

• More than a decade since their son’s death, Lt Saurabh Kalia’s family has continued trying to get justice from the government, and to highlight the war crimes that were committed against their son Saurabh and other Indian soldiers.

• N. K. Kalia, his father has been following his son’s case and wants the act to be declared a war crime by the UN, and the people responsible for the war crimes punished as per the rulings of the Geneva Convention.

• Lt Saurabh Kalia’s father approached various national and international organisations to put pressure on Pakistan to identify, book and punish the persons responsible for the crime of keeping his son in captivity for three weeks and torturing him

CAPTAIN VIKRAM BATRA

• Captain Vikram Batra,(9 September 1974 – 7 July 1999) was an officer of the Indian Army, posthumously awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir.

• He led one of the toughest operations in mountain warfare in Indian history. He was often referred to as ‘’Sher Shah’’ (“Lion King”) in the intercepted messages of the Pakistan Army.

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• Batra’s battalion, the 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (13 JAK Rif), reached Dras on 6 June, was placed under the command of 56 Mountain Brigade, and was given orders to act as reserves to the 2nd battalion of the Rajputana Rifles during their attack on Tololing mountain. CAPTURE OF POINT 5140 • The task of capturing Point 5140, a strategically important mountain peak in the Dras sector, was assigned to 13 JAK Rif under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Yogesh Kumar Joshi on 17 June 1999.

• After the capture of Rocky Knob, Joshi, fell back to Tololing, and started planning for their next objective — Point 5140. Point 5140, about 1500 metres north of Tololing on the same ridgeline,is at an altitude of 16,962 feet above sea level .

• It was decided that the assaulting troops must capture the Top before dawn, or else the enemy would inflict maximum casualties on them.
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• Joshi, decided to attack Point 5140 with Bravo Company, under the command of Lieutenant Sanjeev Singh Jamwal, and Delta Company, under the command of Lieutenant Vikram Batra, from two sides; East and South.At the Hump Complex, the two officers, Jamwal and Batra, received their briefing about the mission from Joshi.

CAPTURE OF POINT 5140

• During the briefing, Jamwal chose the words “Oh! Yeah, yeah, yeah!” to be the success signal for his company whilst Batra chose the words “Yeh Dil Mange More!“

• Under the cover of artillery fire, the two assault companies began climbing Point 5140 after midnight on 20 June.Once the artillery guns, had ceased firing, the Pakistani soldiers immediately came out of their bunkers and put down heavy fire with their machine guns on the advancing Indian soldiers.

• By 0330 hours, B company had captured its objective, and at 0335 hours Jamwal radioed his command post, saying the words “Oh! Yeah, yeah, yeah!”

• Batra decided to approach the hill from the rear,aiming to surprise the enemy, and to cut off their withdrawal route. Batra, along with five of his men, climbed up and after reaching the top, hurled two grenades at the machine gun post. Batra then killed three enemy soldiers single-handedly in close combat.

CAPTURE OF POINT 5140

• He was seriously injured in the process, He continued to lead his troops, and then charged at the next enemy position, capturing Point 5140. In all its actions, his company killed at least eight Pakistani intruders and recovered a heavy anti-aircraft machine gun. The remaining enemy soldiers fled.

• At 0435 hours, Batra radioed his command post, saying the words “Yeh dil mange more!”. When the news reached brigade headquarters that Point 5140 had been captured, the brigade commander asked Joshi about the casualties, his reply was: “There was not a single casualty. Not a single soldier died in the operation.“

• The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes, such as the captures of Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and the Three Pimple Complex.

CAPTURE OF POINT 4875

• The next assignment for Batra’s battalion was to capture the Point 4875, a strategically important peak located in the Mushkoh Valley. From Point 4875, Pakistani artillery observers could easily see Indian gun positions, army camps and troop movement, and bring down effective artillery fire at will.

• On 4th july At 1800 hours , artillery bombardment of the enemy positions on Point 4875 commenced,and continued non-stop, throughout the whole night.155 mm Bofors Howitzers, 105 mm Field Guns, and multi barrel rocket launchers were used in the bombardment of Point 4875.

• At 2030 hours in the pitch black night, Captain Vikram Batra was lying in a sleeping bag in a tent on the rocky ground near the Mushkoh nullah, and was down with fever and fatigue. His commanding officer had ordered him to rest even though his battalion, 13 JAK Rifles, had launched its attack on the Point 4875.

CAPTURE OF POINT 4875

• Now it was getting dangerous because in the morning these soldiers could easily be seen by the Pakistanis. At 0430 hours, the companies deployed their automatic weapons and began to fire at strong well-fortified enemy positions at the top of the feature

• At this juncture, the battalion commanding officer, Lt Col Joshi personally fired two Fagot missiles in quick succession from the fire base and neutralized the enemy position.

• In the early hours of the following morning at 0445 hours, Company reported that they were in a heavy firefight.On the afternoon of 5 July after a fierce battle with Pakistani forces.But the enemy launched an immediate counterattack to take back the Area Flat Top they had lost.

• Suddenly, Captain Batra, who was silently observing the situation from base, went to his commanding officer and volunteered, saying the words “I’LL GO UP SIR.”Seeing him unwell, the Commanding Officer did not have a heart to let him go but Batra insisted on it.

CAPTURE OF POINT 4875

• Seeing Batra’s determination to save Peak 4875 and the honour of his battalion, several of his battalion’s soldiers volunteered to accompany him even before any Company could be ordered.

• “Despite strict rules, where soldiers cannot question the orders of their seniors, several soldiers literally pleaded for permission to accompany Batra .

• The soldiers were so moved that they were willing to be jailed or courtmartialled but only wanted permission to accompany Batra and reinforce the army on top of the peak,” a JAKRIF officer said.

• Just before leaving, Batra along with the 25 men of his Delta Company, who were to accompany him, prayed at the Durga Mata temple. It was pitch black night when they began the climb.

CAPTURE OF POINT 4875

• Having heard a wireless message from the base that Sher Shah was coming, a cheer went up among the tired Indian soldiers on top. The commander ordered them to hold their ground until Sher Shah arrived and then he would take over.

• On the night of 6–7 July, the opposing forces were so close that besides exchanges of small arms fire, verbal exchanges continued throughout the night.

• It was at this stage that it became imperative for Indian troops to destroy this Pakistani post, located north of Point 4875, from where enemy fire was coming as otherwise the situation could get worse.

• Even though, It was pitch dark when they had left at night, but even near the top where the soldiers had to climb vertically, visibility was almost zero because of fog. Even worse, it began snowing as they advanced.

CAPTURE OF POINT 4875

• Batra located the position of the enemy sangar on the ledge from which enemy machine guns were holding up the advance of his company. At great personal risk and under heavy fire from enemy machine guns and grenade firing launchers, Batra moved forward, screaming the battle cry of Durga mata ki jai, and charged the sangar firing incessantly from his AK-47.

• He sustained grievous injuries in the process, yet he continued his charge, with supporting fire from the rest of the patrol, and reached the very narrow entrance of the sangar, taking the enemy by complete surprise, he killed 5 Pakistani soldiers in a close-quarter battle

• The attack resulted in seven Pakistani soldiers killed. However, there was still an enemy machine gun nest in action on that ledge that had to be silenced.Enraged Batra quickly charged forward alone, killing all four members of the crew.

CAPTURE OF POINT 4875

• Suddenly, Batra realized that one of his men had been shot. Turning his face toward Subedar Raghunath Singh, who was sitting behind a nearby boulder, maintaining an iron grip on his AK-47, Batra shouted above the din of flying bullets: “Aap aur main usko evacuate karenge,”

• With bullets flying around him, he pushed the JCO toward the safer side and taking his place instead, saying: “You have a family and children to go back to, I’m not even married. • Batra courageously exposed himself to enemy fire to drag the injured soldier to safety, and in the process was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper .Captain Batra collapsed next to the injured soldier, succumbing to the fatal wounds.

• Captain Vikram Batra always leading from the front, and fully aware of the great danger of his mission, displayed unparalleled courage.

HEROES OF KARGIL

PART 2

SQUADRON LEADER – AJAY AHUJA

• On 27 May 1999, as part of Operation Safed Sagar in Kargil, a photo reconnaissance mission was launched over the Indian side of the line of control in Kashmir.

• A member of the mission, Flt Lt Nachiketa ejected from his MiG-27L after an engine flame out.Sqn Ldr Ahuja stayed over enemy positions to help the rescue attempts knowing full well the existence of enemy surface-to-air missiles in the area.

• However, his MiG-21MF was hit by a shoulder-fired FIM-92 Stinger. Ahuja gave a radio call – IAF authorities lost track of his aircraft and all communication shortly afterward.

• It was reported that the left knee fracture was sustained when he parachuted down, but the gunshots show that he landed alive and was shot. And his death was called as a cold blooded murder.

SUBEDAR MAJOR YOGENDRA SINGH YADAV

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• Yadav, enlisted with 18 Grenadiers, was part of the commando platoon ‘Ghatak’, 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, 1000 foot high cliff face. Yadav, volunteering to lead the assault, climbed the cliff face and installed ropes that would allow further assaults 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 multiple bullets in his groin and shoulder, Yadav climbed the remaining 60 feet and reached the top.

SUBEDAR MAJOR YOGENDRA SINGH YADAV

• 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. Overall Yadav was hit by 14 bullets and played a major role in capture of Tiger hills.The platoon subsequently succeeded in capturing Tiger Hill.

• 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.

CAPTAIN MANOJ KUMAR PANDEY

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• Manoj Pandey was born on 25 June 1975 in Rudha village, Sitapur district, Uttar Pradesh, India. • He was educated at Uttar Pradesh Sainik School, Lucknow and Rani Laxmi Bai Memorial Senior Secondary School. He had a keen interest in sports with boxing and body building.

• He forced back the intruders on 11 June 1999 at Batalik Sector in the Kargil War. He led his men to capture the Jubar top which was considered as important due to its strategic location.

• Quickly sizing up the situation, the young officer led his platoon along a narrow, treacherous ridge that led to the enemy position.

CAPTAIN MANOJ KUMAR PANDEY

• While still short of the objective, the enemy fired upon the Indian soldiers effectively stalling the Indian attack. Displaying great courage, he surged ahead of his troops and charged at the enemy with a full-throated battle cry through a hail of bullets.

• Although wounded in the shoulder and leg, he pressed on his solitary charge with grim determination, until he closed in on the first bunker. Then in ferocious hand-to-hand combat, he killed two of the enemy and cleared the first bunker.

• Unmindful of his grievous wounds, he rushed from bunker to bunker urging his men on. Critically injured, he collapsed at the final bunker and finally succumbed to his injuries. But by this time he had already captured the bunker with his men.

CAPTAIN MANOJ KUMAR PANDEY

• 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.

SUBEDAR SANJAY KUMAR

• On 4 July 1999, as a member of the 13th Battalion, Jammu & Kashmir Rifles, he was the leading scout of a team tasked to capturing Area Flat Top, during the Kargil War.

• The area was held by Pakistani troops. Having scaled the cliff, the team was pinned down by machine gun fire from an enemy bunker, about 150 meters away.

• Kumar, realizing the magnitude of the problem and the detrimental effect this bunker would have in the capture of Area Flat Top, crawled alone up the ledge, along a flank, and charged towards the enemy bunker through a hail of automatic fire. Almost instantly he took two bullets in his chest and forearm that left him bleeding profusely.

• Though bleeding from the bullet wounds, he continued the charge towards the bunker. In hand-to-hand fighting, he killed three enemy soldiers.

GALLANTRY AWARDS

• 13th JAK Rifles

Capt Vikram Batra PVC(Param Vir Chakra)

Rfn Sanjay Kumar PVC Lt Col Yogesh Kumar Joshi VrC

Maj S Vijay Bhaskar VrC

Maj Vikas Vohra VrC

Capt Sanjeev Singh VrC Sub Raghunath Singh VrC

Nk Dev Prasad VrC

Rfn Shyam Singh* VrC

Rfn Mehar Singh VrC

• 18th Grenediers

Gdr Y S Yadav* PVC

Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari* MVC

Lieut Balwan Singh MVC,

Capt Sachin Annarao Nimbalkar

VrC Sub Randhir singh* VrC

,Nb Sub Dan Lal* VrC,
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L/Hav Ram Kumar* VrC

GALLANTRY AWARDS

• 1/11 Gorkha Rifles Lt Manoj Kumar Pandey PVC

Col Lalit Rai VrC

• 2nd Rajputana Rifles Major Vivek Gupta* MVC

Major Padmapani Acharya* MVC

Capt Neikezhakuo Kenguruse* MVC

Nk Digendra Kumar MVC Col M B Ravindra Nath VrC

Maj Mohit Saxena VrC

Capt Vijayant Thapar* VrC

Sub Bhawar Lal* VrC

Hav Sultan Singh Narwaria* VrC

Rfn Jai Ram Singh VrC

GALLANTRY AWARDS

• Ladakh Scouts Major Sonan Wangchuk MVC

Sub Cherring Stobdan VrC Sub Lobzang Chhotak* VrC

Hav Tsewang Rigzin* VrC Sep Tsering Dorjay VrC

• 12th J&K Light Infantry Lieut K Clifford Nongrum* MVC

Capt Amol Kalia* VrC Sub Bahadur Singh* VrC

L/Nk Ghose Mohd. Khan* VrC

GALLANTRY AWARDS

• 18th Garhwal Rifles Maj Rajesh Sah VrC

Capt Sumeet Roy*VrC

Capt M V Sooraj VrC

Nk Kashmir Singh* VrC

Rfn Anusuya Prasad* VrC

Rfn Kuldeep Singh* VrC

• 17th Jat Col Umesh Singh Bawa VrC

Maj Deepak Rampal VrC

Hav Kumar Singh* VrC

• 1st Bihar Maj M Sarvanan* VrC

Nk Ganesh Prasad Yadav* VrC

GALLANTRY AWARDS

• 1st Naga L/Nk Khusiman Gurung VrC Sep K Ashuli* VrC

• 11th Rajputana Rifles Capt Haneefuddin* VrC

Nb Sub Mangej Singh* VrC

• 27th Rajput Capt Shyamal Sinha VrC

Hav Joginder Singh Kumaon VrC

• 17th Garhwal Rifles Capt Jintu Gogoi* VrC

8th Jat Hav Sis Ram Gill* 8 Jat VrC

• 8th Sikh

Sep Satpal Singh 8 Sikh VrC

GALLANTRY AWARDS

• Regiment of Artillery

Capt Jerry Prem Raj* 158 Med Arty VrC
Gnr S Gopala Pillai* 4 Fd Arty VrC
Maj A S Kasana 41 Fd Arty VrC

• Indian Air Force

Wg Cdr Anil Kumar Sinha IAF VrC
Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja IAF VrC

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