Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 11 student.
The motto of the 21st Rashtriya Rifles, a reputed regiment of the Indian army, ‘Dhridta aur veerta’, translates to ‘Tenacity and Valour’ verbatim. Officers and soldiers of the very same battalion proved this maxim with extreme bravery and courage by sacrificing their lives while fighting a group of terrorists. On 2nd May, 2020 a Colonel, a Major, four soldiers and a Police Officer were brutally martyred while fearlessly safeguarding lives of hostages, succumbing to a crossfire which lasted for more than 12 hours.
According to various news reports, the terrorists were discreetly attacking from a cowshed nearby. However, the personnel of the forces were informed that the terrorists were located inside a house , beside the cowshed, in the Changimulla village. Though the details are still not very clear, it was reported that the soldiers reached the location, but received fires from the cowshed right beside the house and not the house itself. When the firing calmed for about an hour, the team entered the building beside the cowshed and occupied the top floor in order to use it as an advantage and fire at the terrorists inside from a height. During this there was no contact with the Colonel and his team. Later, it was found out that the communication devices were being used by the terrorists and the firing resumed. After a while, seven bodies were discovered
Handwara is situated in the Rajwar belt of Kupwara district (Jammu and Kashmir) and after several attacks on Indian Forces, has been considered a vulnerable spot. Apart from the bodies of our martyred heroes, two other bodies were found after the violent attack. They were those of the attackers. One of them was identified as a Commander of Lashkar, an extremist Islamist terrorist organisation
It was reported that even after the attack, a few terrorists were lying low in the vicinity. They were apparently waiting to begin another similar assault. Subsequently, on the following Monday, three Jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were martyred in the Qaziabad area of Handwara , leaving seven injured.
Sadly, most of us know about the incident through the video of Maj Anuj Sood’s wife, which surfaced all over the internet. Since the news overlapped with several other dismal and mournful incidents, this episode did not receive the recognition it deserved. Along with him, Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Naik Rajesh Kumar, Lance Naik Dinesh Singh and Sub Inspector Shakeel Qazi, lost their lives while rescuing hostages held by the terrorists.
The 21st Rashtriya Rifles, of which the martyred were proud soldiers of, is said to recruit the bravest of all warriors and our dauntless protectors proved just that. Though the incident is a grievous and upsetting one, we should be proud about the fact that we belong to a nation of such lionhearted, brave servicemen. While we as ordinary citizens are battling the Virus War by staying indoors, our soldiers are fighting for the safety of our nation, without the fear of the virus and that of their own lives.
Written by Prakriti Panwar
Prakriti is fifteen years old. She studies in Navy Children School, Mumbai and just finished her board exams.
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