A FEW BRAVE MEN BY CAPTAIN NAVEEN NAGAPPA, 13 JAK RIF, SENA MEDAL

 

On this day 17 years back, as the entire nation slept, barring a few brave men enduring the extreme cold in the icy peaks of Kargil at point 4875, their lives changed forever. Some made the supreme sacrifice, some sacrificed part of their body and some would carry the memories of life and death. Anyways life changed forever for these few brave men.

The attack on point 4875 was commenced after last light on 04 July 1999 and for the next 60 hours the men fought one of the most intense battles during the Kargil war. The very fact that during the entire Kargil war four Param Vir Chakras were awarded out of which two Param Vir Chakras were awarded for the bravery shown by the men of 13 Battalion Jammu & Kashmir Rifles on point 4875 proves the intensity of the battle.

The men fought well entrenched enemy for more than 48 hours in the extreme weather conditions without food and water risking their lives, shedding their blood and even sacrificing their lives all but refusing to be evacuated as they had sworn to hoist the tricolor on point 4875. Indeed the tricolor was hoisted on point 4875 by a few brave men on 07 July 1999.

Never say, he lost his life, never say he lost his limb; for freedom was the gift they unselfishly gave, pain and death was the ultimate price they paid.

With a hand upon my heart, I feel the pain, I feel the pride, I feel the respect: my reverence is revealed.

In honor of all the soldiers who played their part for the success of point 4875 earning the unit the award of BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE.

PROUD THAT I WAS PART OF YOU ALL COMRADES

Capt (Retd) Naveen AN, SM

CAPTAIN NAVEEN NAGAPPA, SENA MEDAL

Don’t know how to start! I am carrying so much of excitement within me and I am lacking words and order to put it down in pen and paper. But I have to share it with all of you. Otherwise I will spend some more sleepless night like yesterday.

As usual, “in the year 1999” I was in class 11 and the Kargil War was fought. The war that changed my life, the war that opened my eyes, my mind and my heart. The war that let me know what I love, what is my passion and what I wanted to be. Throughout those 2 months I followed the news channels and newspapers thoroughly and read about all the soldiers and martyrs, their braveries, their contributions, their families, everything. They became a prominent part of my life and they continue to be so. Through their stories, I fall in love with my country, my men in uniform and the concept of serving nation afresh. From then, they have always been my heroes.

And yesterday, I saw, I met, I spoke to such a real hero of my life who not only fought in Kargil War but led a team of 120 brave men who gave us a historical victory! Yesterday I met Captain Naveen Nagappa, Sena Medal at his house in Bangalore. Before I narrate my experience in those two precious hours, let me formally introduce him to all of you. Then only you can understand my degree of excitement.

Hardly 6 Months would have passed after his commissioning in 13th Jammu & Kashmir Riffles(Jak Rif) of Indian Army – the brave Unit which consisted of brave heroes like Late Capt Vikram batra͵ Riffleman Sanjay Kumar & many more. He was trying his best to understand the new environment & giving his best in his new work. But in the meanwhile the 1999 Kargil war took place.

During the war Lt Naveen was given a task to Capture the Indian bunkers on Mushkow valley side. He was leading a team of 120 men. He recalls that before taking these men for the battle operation he said four things to his men to convince them.

*‘I WILL NOT LET ANY ONE OF YOU HAPPEN ANYTHING & WILL BE READY TO EVEN SACRIFICE MY LIFE TO SAVE U“

*I WILL NOT BE THE MAN WHO WILL RUN AWAY.EVEN IF I DIE IN THE WAR I WILL HAVE BULLETS ON MY CHEST BUT NOT MY BACK

*I MAY HAVE THE DEARTH OF EXPERIENCE͵BUT NOT THE DEARTH OF SPIRIT.

*The last thing which he told was inspirational and was ‘APNA TIRANGA LE JAYENGE͵FEHRAKAR AAYENGE CHAHE KUCH BHI HO JAYE.

He managed to get one bunker & the other bunker was leading to the stealth of “point 4875“where Capt Batra lost his life. In the meanwhile enemy hurled a grenade on LT Naveen‘s side & in order to save his Jawans he took the grenade immediately & hurled it towards enemy. But unfortunately it burst nearby his position. Due to this grenade blast Lt Naveen‘s leg was injured severely. Then Shaheed Capt Vikram Batra͵ evacuated Lt Naveen & took the charge where Lt Naveen left. Then Capt Vikram Batra fought with extreme courage & valour to get that bunker which lead to point 4875. In this action Capt Vikram Batra sacrificed his life for the nation‘s glory.

Lt. Naveen was later promoted to Captain and for his extreme courage͵ spirit & valour he was awarded with Sena Medal by President of India. Due to his injury he was commissioned out of Army.

So, I met a man of such bravery, calibre and historical importance, ofcourse! He is such a down to earth person, very approachable and friendly! You can call him any number of times and ask him any number of questions!

I heard from him what happened to him in the war! On 7th July 1999 early morning, when the enemy hurled a grenade on him and he immediately threw it back, somehow it bounced back and burst near him only. It was sheer luck that he was alive but his legs were injured very badly. Immediately he lied down to save his upper half, took a sedative to manage the pain and tied bandage on his leg which was dangling at the bottom. Then he crawled back few meters because no one can carry him back as that area was completely exposed to enemy firing. Then his fellow men carried him down on back amidst heavy firing. In between they halted behind big stones to protect themselves from the firing. Some rocks were loose and many a times he was dropped. Once he reached the field hospital after 24 hours of his injury, he was given basic medication and then he was shifted to Srinagar by Army Ambulance from there he was airlifted to Delhi. The road to Srinagar was very rough and the ambulance never stopped on the way. If it stopped, the enemy would have located the coordinates and shot the ambulance. Captain Naveen had to bear sever pain throughout the journey because of the rough road. In Delhi, he was under treatment for 1 and a half years and underwent 8 major surgeries. After Delhi he spend few months in Pune ALC (Artificial Limb Centre). Doctors told him he will never be able to walk again in his life but today I saw him walking down the gate to greet us. It was all possible because of his strong will and sheer courage!

I consider myself and my family to be lucky enough to meet someone as brave as Captain Naveen Nagappa in our lifetime! It’s a rare opportunity that almighty showered on us! Thank you Sir for protecting us and giving us a safe and comfortable life. Jai Hind!

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My daughter with Captain Naveen Nagappa, Sena Medal, his wife Sowmya and his daughter Savera
Myself with Captain Naveen Nagappa, Sena Medal, his wife Sowmya and daughter Savera
Myself with Captain Naveen Nagappa, Sena Medal, his wife Sowmya and daughter Savera
During Kargil War

Shaheed Major Rushikesh Ramani, Sena Medal (P)

Gujarat is one of the most prosperous states in India. Mostly the people of Gujarat are businessmen and their business acumen is world wide accepted. Very few from Gujarat join defense forces and one major factor responsible for this is the lack of awareness among the youth in Gujarat regarding men in uniform. To overcome this family of martyr Major Rushikesh Vallabh Bhai Ramani has started a trust in memory of Major Rushikesh who attained martyrdom on 07 June 2009 in Kashmir fighting insurgents.

At about 01:15 AM, 07 June 2009 Major Ramani was able to establish contact with an infiltrating group of terrorists and a heavy exchange of fire started. The terrorists opened heavy fire in an abortive attempt to escape. During the exchange of fire, Major RV Ramani received a burst of 12 bullets in his chest and abdomen. Despite the serious bullet injuries sustained by him, and with total disregard to his personal safety or well being, Major RV Ramani single-handedly continued to fire at and engage the group of said terrorists. Till such time the reinforcements arrived, Major RV Ramani led his party from the front. In spite of bleeding profusely from 12 bullet wounds, he engaged and shot dead three terrorists.

During the whole incident, Major RV Ramani displayed exceptional courage, extreme daring, devotion beyond call of duty, leadership and bravery of the highest order in the face of the enemy. With this selfless and heroic act of conspicuous bravery, Major RV Ramani single-handedly foiled and successfully prevented the infiltration attempt by Pakistani terrorists into Indian territory.

Major Rushikesh Ramani Memorial Trust makes arrangements for seminars, camps, workshop, etc., to give information, guidance and inspiration to the young boys and girls of Gujarat to join different military services and to impart training to those who are having interest in such services. Trust also render assistance to financially weak students by way of financial assistance in the form of scholarships, providing books and fees for education purpose. Above all, Trust appreciate and award the members of the Indian Army, para-military and police forces, who have sacrificed their lives in the interest of nation.

Major Rushikesh Ramani, Sena Medal (P)
Major Rushikesh Ramani 23 Punjab
Major Ruishikesh Ramani’s uniform
Major Rushikesh Ramani Memorial Trust in Ahmedabad
Last Journey
Sh. Vallabhbhai Ramani father of Major Rushikesh Ramani
Smt. Geetaben Ramani and Shree Vallabhbhai Ramani Parents of Major Ruishikesh Ramani

HISTORY REPEATS…. (After seven years, the same history repeats again) – Anasuya Mitra

In the year 2008, the young boy called up many of his friends and relatives and asked to watch the evening news. It was the announcement of Gallantry Awards for the year of 2008. The young boy was one of the recipients of Sena medal that time. His family was celebrating for the moment and waiting for the boy to come back in Kathua and they were preparing for his marriage. His friends were proud of him. And on the very next day, the nation lost one of her young brave hearts in a fierce gun battle in the north eastern part of the Himalayas.

Captain Sunil Choudhury’s unit 7/11 Gorkha Rifles were engaged in the ULFA Insurgency Battle at that time. On 27th January 2008, based on a tip off, Army’s Gorkha Regiment raided Mechaki forest area at Hankhati where the militants, including hard core ULFA rebel Joond Bhuyan, involved in several heinous crimes, were sheltered. As the Army troops approached, the militants opened fire triggering a heavy exchange of fire, which continued for nearly an hour. In the shootout, Captain Choudhury, who was a prime target for ULFA after he shot dead two leaders last year, sustained grievous injury and was airlifted to the Air Force hospital at Roroiya where he was declared dead. According to reports, Bhuyan managed to escape. Bhuyan’s close aides, Chandan Dohotia, alias Getley, and Tutu Moran were killed in the encounter. The troops recovered an AK-47 assault rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition, an improvised explosive device weighing five kg, timed and ready for use and two magazines from the encounter site. The nation honoured the young boy with Kirti Chakra in the next year.

Just after seven years, we lost another brave leader after the nation announced the Yudh Seva Medal for him on the republic day, 2015. Official sources said that Abid Khan was involved in a large number of attacks on security forces and Police besides civilian soft targets in Pulwama district in the last two years. His father ASI Jalaluddin had been shifted from Pulwama to Baramulla last year after Abid Khan fatally attacked Police and security forces in Pulwama and Awantipora Police districts.

Engaged as Special Police Officer (SPO), Sheeraz had decamped with a Constable’s service rifle from an SOG camp. One of Abid’s cousins had also stabbed an SPO on duty and snatched away his AK-47 rifle at Pampore in 2012 but the Police chased and captured him at a distance without resistance. The gun was seized and he was booked in a criminal case. Abid Khan was believed to be among the four Hizbul Mujahideen militants who had captured and killed four soldiers of RR 42 Bn at Buchoo, Tral, days before then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the Valley, during a cordon-and-search operation on June 19, 2013. Before escaping, Abid and his associates had also filmed the event on a cell phone which later surfaced on YouTube and Facebook.

Col. Rai had carried out dozens of operations in search of Abid Khan. He finally got his most wanted target but died in the same gun battle. Officials said his name would be recommended for a bigger posthumous award later this year. They said that Col. Rai went for the daredevil action to the front and ran straight into Abid’s house during the gunbattle to ensure that the militants did not escape. He died in a face-to-face gunfight with the two holed up militants.

There are reports that relatives of the militants got Col Rai killed. It is said when he reached the target home, he was told that militants are ready to surrender and requested not to fire. Col trusted them and went into the house to make them surrender, when he was fired and killed. He received bullet in his temple and report says he was dead on spot. The police Constable Sanjeev Kumar from Jammu and Kashmir police was also with him and he received bullet in stomach. Once all this happened, troops killed both the militants in next half an hour.

This shows clearly that the gallantry awards doesn’t stop our brave soldiers from doing their duty with full sincerity. They are on duty as long as they wear the olive green. Also be it high rank or low rank, Indian Army soldiers  – the finest military force of this world always lead from the front and don’t hesitate to take bullets on them to protect our democracy.

Captain Sunil Choudhury and Col M N Rai