Pakistani soldiers had intruded into the Indian side of the Line of Control (LOC) into the area of Kargil in early 1999. The Indian Army, later on supported by the Indian Air Force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced withdrawal of the Pakistani forces across the LOC. Indian army finally declared the complete evacuation of Kashmir from the intruders on 26th July 1999. This day, since then, is celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas. 18 Years after the Kargil War, let us remember and pay homage the brave soldiers and Kargil War Heroes who gave their life to protect Indian borders.
1. Capt. Vikram Batra
During the Kargil war, Lt. Batra of 13 J&K Rifles, and his Delta Company were ordered to recapture peak 5140 on June 19, 1999. He led one of the toughest operations in mountain warfare in Indian history. He decided to climb the hill from the rear, aiming to surprise the Pakistani troops. He and his men ascended the sheer rock-cliff. Captain Batra, along with five of his men, climbed up and after reaching the top, hurled two grenades at the machine gun post. He single-handedly killed three enemy soldiers in close combat. He was seriously injured in the process, but insisted on regrouping his men to continue with the mission. Inspired by the courage displayed by Captain Batra, the soldiers of 13 JAK Rifles charged the enemy position and captured Point 5140 at 3:30 a.m. on 20 June 1999. He was posthumously awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War.
2. Lt. Manoj Kumar Pandey
Lt. Manoj Kumar Pandey of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, led his men to capture the Jubar top which was of great strategic importance. The young officer led his platoon along a narrow, treacherous ridge that led to the enemy position. While still short of the objective, the enemy fired upon the Indian soldiers effectively stalling the Indian attack. Despite being critically injured, he killed two of the enemy soldiers in ferocious hand-to-hand combat. He collapsed at the last bunker and finally succumbed to his injuries. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his audacious courage and leadership during adverse times.
3. Grenedier Yogendra Singh Yadav
Grenedier Yogendra singh Yadav of 18 Grenadiers, was part of the commando platoon Ghatak which was tasked to capture three strategic bunkers on Tiger Hill. In spite of having been hit by three bullets in his groin and shoulder, he climbed the remaining 60 feet and reached the top. Despite being 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. He then charged the second bunker and killed four Pakistani soldiers hand-to-hand combat. The platoon subsequently succeeded in capturing Tiger Hill. He was awarded the highest military honour in India, Param Vir Chakra for his bravery.
4. Rifleman Sanjay Kumar
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, of 13 J&K Rifles, volunteered to lead a scout of the attacking column tasked to capture area Flat Top of Point 4875 in the Mushkoh Valley. During the attack when enemy’s fire posed stiff opposition and stalled the column, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, with utter disregard to his personal safety, charged at the enemy. In hand-to-hand combat, he killed three of the intruders and was himself seriously injured. Despite his injuries, he charged onto the second sangar. Taken totally by surprise, the enemy left behind a Universal Machine Gun and started running. He killed the enemy and died in the process. For his most conspicuous gallantry, cool courage and devotion to duty of an exceptionally high order in the face of the enemy, he was awarded Param Vir Chakra.
5. Maj. Vivek Gupta
Maj Gupta and six others from 2 Rajputana Rifles, captured the Pt 4950 peak at Tuloling. He perished on the battlefront when a fusillade of bullets from the Pakistanis tore open his torso, but not before he and his company men had slain seven members in the enemy camp. Major Gupta was awarded Mahavir Chakra for his inspiring leadership and bravery.
6. Maj. Padmapani Acharya
Major Padmapani Acharya as a Company Commander of 2nd Rajputana Rifles, was assigned the formidable task of capturing an enemy position which was heavily fortified and strongly held with mine fields and sweeping machine gun and artillery fire. Success of the battalion hinged on the early capture of this position. When the company attack had almost faltered at the very beginning because of enemy’s artillery fire, inflicting large numbers of casualties, Major Padmapani Acharya took the reserve platoon and led it through raining artillery shells. He led his team to victory and was critically injured in the process. He finally succumbed to his injuries but not before he had recaptured a strategic position from the enemy. He was awarded the Indian military honour, Maha Vir Chakra posthumously for his actions during the Kargil War.
7. Capt. N. Kenguruse
As the leader of the Ghatak Platoon he was tasked with the capture of the area ‘Black Rock’ in Drass sector during the Kargil War. The commando mission involved attacking the well entrenched enemy position on a cliff face. Despite severe injury and profuse bleeding, the brave Naga carried on with the assault. Unmindful of his injury, he led the platoon to the top of the cliff and was faced with a sheer rock that separated the platoon from the enemy. He then kicked off his boots and launched the final assault barefoot. He fired a rocket launcher and charged at the enemy, killing two infiltrators with his rifle and another two with his commando knife in hand-to-hand combat. A series of bullets threw him off the cliff and he later succumbed to his injuries, but not before he neutralizing the enemy position single-handedly. He was awarded the Indian military honour, Maha Vir Chakra posthumously.
8. Naik Digendra Kumar
Kumar commanded the Light Machine Gun Group of 2 Rajputana Rifles during his company’s assault on Point 4590 on Tololing Hill in the Dras sector. While nearing its objective, the Assault Group came under enemy fire and took severe casualties. Although Kumar was also hit by a bullet in his left arm, he kept firing on the enemy with his light machine gun. His fire facilitated his men’s advancement, allowing them to physically assault the enemy position and clear the area after a hand-to-hand fight. He was responsible for killing 48 Pakistani soldiers single handedly and received total 18 bullets on his body armour. He was awarded the Mahavir Chakra for his gallantry.
9. Maj. Rajesh Singh Adhikari
Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari of 19 Grenadiers was tasked to secure the initial foothold by capturing the forward spur of Tololing feature. While Major Adhikari was leading his company towards the objective, he was fired at from two mutually supporting enemy positions with Universal machine guns. The officer immediately directed the rocket launcher detachment to engage the enemy position and killed two enemy soldiers in close quarter combat. Thereafter, the officer, displaying presence of mind under heavy fire, ordered his medium machine gun detachment to take position behind a rocky feature and engage the enemy. The assault party continued to inch their way up. While so advancing forward, Major Adhikari suffered grievous bullet injuries, yet he continued to direct his sub-unit. Refusing to be evacuated, then he charged at the second enemy position and killed one more occupant, thus capturing the second position at Tololing which later facilitated capture of Point 4590. However later he succumbed to his injuries. He was awarded Mahavir Chakra.
10. Lt. Balwan Singh
Lieutenant Balwan Singh with his Ghatak Platoon was tasked to assault the Tiger Hill Top. On seeing the Ghataks, the enemy panicked and in desperation attempted to repulse the Ghataks. Though injured in the fight, Lieutenant Balwan Singh’s resolve to finish the enemy remained unshaken. He refused to be evacuated and unmindful of his injury, moved swiftly to encircle the enemy and engaged them in close combat and single handedly killed four of the enemy. The remaining enemy personnel opted to flee rather than face the fury of the officer. The officer’s inspirational leadership, conspicuous courage and bravery were instrumental in the capture of Tiger Hill, which was operationally one of the most important objectives in Dras Sector. He was awarded Mahavir Chakra for his sevices in the Kargil war.
11. Capt. Anuj Nayyar
On 06 July 1999, Charlie Company was tasked to the Western Slopes of Point 4875, in the Mushkoh Valley. Captain Nayyar continued to command his leading platoon into the attack under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire. As the platoon advanced, the leading section reported location of 3 to 4 enemy positions. Captain Nayyar moved forward towards the first enemy position and fired rocket launcher and lobbed grenades into it. Captain Anuj Nayyar, unmindful of his personal safety, motivated his men and cleared two more enemy positions. While clearing the fourth position an enemy rocket propelled grenade hit the officer killing him on the spot. This action led by Captain Anuj Nayyar resulted in killing nine enemy soldiers and destruction of three medium machine gun positions of the enemy. Captain Anuj Nayyar displayed indomitable resolve, grit and determination and motivated his command by personal example acting beyond the call of duty and made the supreme sacrifice in true traditions of the Indian Army and for this, he was awarded Mahavir Chakra.
12. Lt. Keshing Clifford Nongrum
In the operations to capture Point 4812, Capt. Keishing Clifford Nongrum was tasked to assault the feature from the southeastern direction. Capt. Nongrum led his column over the near impossible vertical feature. Capt. Nongrum, with utter disregard to his personal safety, charged through the fire zone. Closing in with the first bunker, he threw grenades into it and killed six enemy soldiers. He then tried to snatch the universal machine gun of the enemy from the bunker and received a volley of bullets. Though severely wounded, Capt. Nongrum refused to be evacuated and fought valiantly till he succumbed to his injuries. For conspicuous gallantry and supreme sacrifice, Capt. Keishing Clifford Nongrum was honored with the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously.
13. Major Sonam Wangchuk
Major Sonam Wangchuk was leading a column of The Indus Wing, Ladakh Scouts as a part of ongoing operations in Op VIJAY in the Batalik Sector. While moving towards the Line of Control, the enemy ambushed the column by firing from a vantage position. In the process, one NCO of The Ladakh Scouts was killed. Major Sonam Wangchuk held his column together and in a daring counter ambush, led a raid on the enemy position from a flank, killing two enemy soldiers. The officer also recovered one heavy machine gun and one Universal machine gun, ammunition, controlled stores and three dead bodies of the enemy personnel. Thereafter, the officer took stock of all forces along the Chorbatla axis in the Batalik Sector and cleared the axis up to the Line of Control of all enemy intrusions at great risk to his life. Major Wangchuk was honoured with Mahavir Chakra for his exceptional bravery and gallantry of the highest order in the presence of enemy fire and in extreme climatic conditions in the glaciated area.
There were many more brave soldiers who sacrificed their life for the integrity of the nation. We, at Entertales, salute our brave-hearts Kargil War Heroes and thank them for their service to the mation.