New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) Only one of them had a weapon to protect his over 40 unarmed colleagues returning from long leave but two BSF troopers doggedly fought two heavily-armed terrorists, not only saving their convoy but nearly two dozen others passing that stretch in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district on Wednesday – but at the cost of their own lives.
BSF constables Rocky, the only armed man on the bus, managed to gun down one of the attackers before succumbing to his injuries, while Subhendu Roy, who was driving the bus, despite being hit several times, held on tenaciously to the door to prevent the terrorist from entering and attcking his defenceless colleagues.
Rocky hailed from Ramgarh village in Haryana’s Yamunanagar district, while Roy was from West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.
Border Security Force (BSF) Director General D.K. Pathak gave full credit to the two whom he called “heroes and martyrs” for their quick reaction and “tremendous courage”.
It was 7.30 a.m. on Wednesday when two alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants, later identified as Noman alias Nomin (code name) and Naveed Yakub alias Usman, ambushed the BSF convoy at Samroli, about 18 km ahead of Udhampur on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway IA.
Noman, said to be a resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan, was killed by Rocky, while Yakub, who hails from Faisalabad in Pakistan, was later caught by the villagers and handed over to the security agencies.
“Rocky and Subhendu fought till their death with tremendous courage and saved the lives of 42 other BSF men travelling in the bus,” Pathak told IANS over the telephone.
The scale of damage could have been much greater as there were 22 other such convoys passing through Samroli’s Narsu Nala area, a 750-metre stretch where the attack took place, at the same time, said the paramilitary force commander, adding this was the first time in two decades that NH1A, connecting Jammu to Srinagar, has been targeted.
He said that the two militants started firing at the bus from a bend on the highway.
“While Yakub took position on a hill and began firing, Noman stopped the bus and opened fire from the front. Constable Subhendu was injured, but he prevented Noman from entering the bus,” Pathak said, adding the injured constable hung on to the driver’s door, ensuring that the terrorist could not get in.
“Noman then went around the bus, firing at its back and sides from his AK-47 rifle and again attempted to get into it from one of the other doors where Constable Rocky, who was seated on a front seat on the left side, took position with his INSAS rifle,” he said.
The terrorist was shot down, said the BSF chief, but not before he had lobbed a grenade near the door.
“Rocky fought with the terrorists despite receiving several bullet injuries and finally he killed one of them,” Pathak said.
“Both the constables died of bullet wounds. They averted major casualties by disregarding personal safety. Another jawan has head injuries and is unconscious in hospital. His condition has been described as critical, while 14 troops suffered bullet injuries,” he added.
He assured families of both will get Rs.20 lakh compensation and a job for one member.