Mangaluru: Addressing the media persons during a press meet held at Mangalore Press Club, Col. N.S. Bhandary, President, D.K. District Ex-Servicemen’s Association said, “26 July 1999 is a very important day in the history of India and specially for Indian Armed Forces. On this very day, our valiant Armed Forces drove out Pakistan Army intruders from unauthorised occupation of Indian territory of Kargil, Drass, Tololing, Batalik and Turkok sectors in Kashmir. Under “ Operation Badr: ”, conceived by the Pakistani military, the Pakistani Army (Northern Light Infantry in civilian clothes ) had intruded across the LOC, and surreptitiously occupied the deserted heights of our territory, left unoccupied by the Indian Army due to inhospitable weather conditions during the severe icy winter months”.
He further said, “Indian Armed Forces had a difficult task of uprooting and throwing out the well entrenched Pakistan army,( up to 8 – 10 Km across LOC in Batalik ). The terrain is mountainous with jagged cliffs, steep hill sides at heights of 16,000 – 18,000 ft, prone to sudden Avalanches and crevasses, with temperatures plunging to – 40 degrees Celsius. The task was further made near impossible by the strict orders that Indian Armed Forces were not to not cross the LOC while recapturing Indian territory from unauthorised occupation of Pakistan army”.
“Under “ Operation Vijay ”, Indian Armed Forces rose to the occasion, with impeccable coordination between Indian Army and Indian Air Force, and attacked the hills facing volleys of bullets from enemy and drove out the Pakistan army from the Indian territory. Indian Navy successfully blocked the sea routes in Arabian Sea, thus depriving Pakistan of all supplies during these operations. As grim battles raged across a 160-km stretch of treacherous ridges and peaks that comprises the Kargilsector, it was in Batalik that the Army faced its toughest challenge. This war was an example of great valour, comradeship, sacrifices and leadership on the part of Indian Armed Forces.
“Indian casualties were : Killed – 518 ( Officers – 20, Jcos – 23, Jawans – 475 ); Wounded- 1,211 ( Officers – 66, Jcos – 60, Jawans – 1,085 ); Pakistani casualties were : Killed- 453, Wounded- 665, POW -8. Gallantry medals were awarded to armed Forces Personnel for their extreme bravery and devotion in the face of enemy. Paramvir Chakra – 4 ( 3 posthumous ) Lt Manoj Kumar Pandey, 1/11 Gorkha Rifles; Capt Vikram Batra, 13 Jammu & Kashmir Rifles; Rfn Sanjay Kumar, 13 Jammu& Kashmir Rifles; Gnrd Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers ( alive)Mahavir Chakra-9, Vir Chakra-55. These brave men had promised their families that they would soon return from the War and they kept their word. They went to the battlefield as valiant soldiers carrying the flag, and came back as HEROES draped in National Flag. Think of their sacrifices – They gave their TODAY for ourTOMORROW.”
“The Defense Forces of India are the most patriotic forces in the world. They have always proved their worth during external and internal threats. They are the most dependable and strongest pillars of our democracy. A wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial, Kadri Hills, Mangaluru, at 10.00 AM, will be held, where floral tributes will be offered in memory of Martyrs by Dr D Veerendra Heggade,Padma Vibhushan, Dharmadhikari, Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple, Dharmasthala and arms drill will be presented with Police Bugler and Drummers in support. Other dignitaries who will grace the occasion will be AB Ibrahim-DC, Capt Ganesh Karnik- MLC(Veteran), Vijayanath Vittal Shetty-Chief Coordinator, Shasthavu Sri Bhoothanatheshwara Temple, S Murugan-Commissioner of Police-DK, Dr Sharanappa- Superintendent of Police-DK , and many others”.
“At, 11.00 AM, the Sainik Bhavan, a three storied building, for Armed Forces Veterans, on 05 cents of land on Bavuta Gudde, Near St Aloysius College, will be inaugurated, by Dr Veerendra Heggade,Padma Vibhushan, followed by a short stage programme. Additionally, an interactive session of school students and Ex Servicemen, will be conducted at Lions Seva Mandir, Mallikatte, Kadri,Mangaluru, commencing at 9.00 AM to 1.30 PM, on 27 Jul 2015. Lunch will be served. This programme will consist of Quiz Competition, Audio Video display of war scenes, felicitations to veteran soldiers, interactive group discussions, patriotic songs and dances” added Col Bhandary.
S.M. Airan, General Secretary, D.K. District Ex-Servicemen’s Association, Vikram Datta, Treasurer, Lt Col N P Rai, Chairman, Organising Committee, and Col Balakrishna-Souvenir Committee member were also present during the press meet.