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The 26th May, 1999. The Leh-Batalik road is as notorious as the Srinagar-Kargil road. At its beginning lie dramatization areas, at its end fierce fighting and often, death. Jawans patrol the rugged slopes near Batalik. For them, there is little time for rest and little time to think, always poised on the edge of action. After the Cabinet Committee on Security approved to apply of Air Power on Indian side of the Line of Control, the air force launched air strikes with MIG-21s, MIG-27s and armed Mi-17 helicopters for ‘Operation Vijay’.
04th July, 1999, Tiger Hill: The battle comes to the living room as for the first time in India’s history; the Kargil battle was covered live by TV channels. 26th July, 1999, The Military operations, concluded. The Indian army launched its final attacks in the last week of July after Drass had been cleared of Pakistani forces. The army captured eight Pakistani soldiers and a large number of weapons and ammunition. The day has since been marked as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
India resumed control of all territory as per the July 1972 Shimla Peace Accord. The army also recovered the identity cards and pays books of Pakistani army personnel. The battalion earned four Maha Vir Chakras, one of India’s highest medals for gallantry, three of them being awarded posthumously. We were able to recapture our last mount from Pakistan however lost our priceless great warriors, brave brothers. Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya from Baranagar. Sena Medal (Posthumous) And what’s about Baranagar?
A patrol consisting of eight other ranks led by Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya was tasked to establish a foothold on North Eastern ridge near Tiger Hill. The route was unattainable and was covered with snow. While Sepoy Major Singh was climbing up, Kanad detected movement of intruders coming down with heavy weapons towards them. Kanad informed the patrol leader who ordered the patrol to deploy. The intruders started firing at the patrol with heavy automatic and sniper fire. Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya and Sepoy Major Singh divided the patrol into two groups and started engaging the intruders from different positions thereby displaying outstanding professional competence.
Heavy exchange of fire continued between Lieutenant Kanad’s patrol and the intruders. The patrol kept constantly returning the fire with full poise and determination. In the ensuing fire fight a number of patrol members including Lieutenant Kanad received multiple gun shot wounds which was reported later by other personnel of the patrol. Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya along with two other ranks laid down his life in the highest tradition of the service. The patrol could not come back and was declared missing in action on 21st May, 1999. The body of SS-37818M Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya was barely 22-years-old & recovered from the area of action where it was found buried in the snow on 15th July, 1999 after the capture of Tiger Hill.
Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya was the permanent resident of Baranagar, near Bonhooghly NIOH of B.T. Road. He was the first Kargil martyr from the city of Joy.
We would like to tag on the news published in the Telegraph as honor for Kanad’s departed soul on 18th July 1999:
‘City Pays Homage to Hero’; “The city today bade adieu to its first Kargil martyr Captain Kanad Bhattacharya. Kanad, who served under the 8th Sikh Regiment, had led a reconnaissance team to Tiger Hill on May 21 and was reported missing. His body was traced on July 15 on the west side of the hill. Kargil’s First Hero: Lt. Saurabh Kalia’s Uniform The mortal remains of the captain arrived in a coffin from New Delhi last night. Kanad’s tricolour-draped coffin, kept overnight at Command Hospital, was taken in an army truck to his B.T. Road residence in north Calcutta this morning. Ignoring an overcast sky and intermittent drizzle, a few thousand people thronged Kanad’s house.
Around 9.15 am, Kanad’s body was taken to the Eastern Command stadium in Fort William, where army and police officials, state ministers and political leaders placed wreaths on his body. Nearly 5,000 people gathered inside Fort William to pay their last respects to the martyr whose body lay in state on a specially-erected platform bedecked with flowers. Among those present were state higher education minister Satya Sadhan Chakraborty, fisheries minister Kironmoy Nanda, environment and tourism minister Manab Mukherjee, Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee and former state Congress chief Somen Mitra. A wreath was placed on behalf of Governor Shyamal Kumar Sen.
Later, at the crematorium, senior government officials, friends and relatives also paid floral tributes. The army was represented by the Eastern Command GOC-in-C Lt Gen. H.R.S. Kalkat and Eastern Command chief of staff Lt Gen. S.C. Chopra. Former army Chief Gen. Shankar Roy Chowdhury also paid his tributes to Kanad. The mood was somber at Fort William as the army band played the last post which was followed by a two-volley gun salute by the Rajputana Regiment.
Around 10.45 am, the carriage with Kanad’s coffin, escorted by jawans of the Gorkha Regiment, finally inched out of Fort William in a convoy towards the Nimtola Ghat crematorium. A huge crowd lined both sides of the road as the convoy crossed Strand Road, Posta Bazar and Nimtola Ghat Street. They returned with Tri Color Draped The funeral procession reached the crematorium at 11.20 am, where the casket was taken down by the soldiers of the Gorkha Regiment.
Once again the band played the last post and a three-volley gun salute by the Gorkha Regiment followed. The pall bearers removed the national flag from the coffin before handing it over to Kanad’s father Kamal Kanti for the last rites. The body remained inside the coffin till it was consigned to flames. When Kanad’s father touched the flames on the casket as part of the last rites, the 2,500-strong crowd gathered outside broke into a chorus. Kanad Bhattacharya amar rahe, Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Jab tak suraj chand rahega Captain Kanad Bhattacharya ka naam rahega.
Kanad was a fine officer…. We want more like him from Bengal, said Sikh Regiment battle commandant Colonel A.S.P. Vinod under whom Kanad had served. Throughout the funeral, Kamal Kanti was stoic. But, Kanad’s mother Purnima and sisters Jaba and Purba stared at the coffin with tears in their eyes. They were comforted by army officers.
Shops and business establishments in the Tala Post Office area of north Calcutta will remain closed for a day tomorrow as a mark of respect for Captain Kanad Bhattacharya, the first Kargil martyr from the city. The Bhattacharyas were residents of Tala before shifting further north to the Bonhooghly area of B.T. Road. This is not a political bandh. People in the area have spontaneously decided to close their business as a mark of respect, said A.K. Nan, Kanad’s childhood friend. He said the Tala Friends Association, of which Kanad was a member, will also organize a blood camp in his memory.”
Monday The 19th July, 1999; The Tribune pays homage for Kanad, as follows:
- “Calcutta bids adieu to martyr’ – ‘Capt Kanad Bhattacharya, the first Kargil martyr from the city, was cremated with full military honours at Nimtollaghat in North Calcutta today. Braving a steady drizzle, hundreds of people, mostly youth, gathered at the historic crematorium since morning to pay their last respects to the 25-year-old hero.
No member of the West Bengal Cabinet was present at the crematorium, but Director-General of state police Dipak Sanyal was there to pay his last respects. Joint Commissioner (I) of Calcutta Police Gautam Chakraborty was seen controlling the crowd along with other senior officials. Kanad’s body was accompanied by senior Army officials, including GOC Bengal Area, Lt Gen S.C. Chopra, along with his father Kamal Kanti Bhattacharya, a sister and other relatives.
The coffin was carried from the Army three-tonner truck to the crematorium by Army officials and relatives. The coffin containing the body was put into the electric crematorium at 1145 a.m. amid sounds of the last post and the customary 21 gun salute from the Gorkha Regiment, after the last rites were performed by Kanad’s father and an uncle. The first phase firing and a few casualties later, parties were sent to recover the bodies on May 21. “But Kanad’s body was not found and was declared missing,” a relative said. The body was found only on July 15 West of Tiger Hill.
Top Army brass including the GOC-in-C, Eastern Region, Maj Gen H.R.S. Kalkat, Lt Gen S.C. Chopra, Air Commodore P.N. Devy and ADC to West Bengal Governor Lt Joseph were among those who paid floral tributes to the martyr. THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The body of artillery gunner-cum-technical assistant, G.Sajeev, who was killed while fighting Pakistani infiltrators in Kargil, was brought by an Indian airlines flight here on Sunday. The body was received by Kerala Cultural Affairs Minister T.K. Ramakrishnan, Tourism Minister E. Chandrasekharan Nair and Irrigation Minister V.P. Ramakrishna Pillai on behalf of the state government.
The body was later taken to the war hero’s native village of Thalavoor in Kollam district after a ceremonial homage by Army personnel.’ Just notice the differences of two states. Captain (Dr.) Rajshree Gupta, Army Medical Corps (AMC), salutes the tricolour-draped coffin of her husband, Major Vivek Gupta of the 2nd Rajputana Rifles, who died fighting the enemies.
Residents of Baranagar paid tribute to Kargil martyr Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya by placing flowers at the memorial in front of the building where he used to live and observing a minute’s silence. The flat belonging to the family remained locked on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the Kargil victory. “Kanad’s father has passed away and his mother stays with her daughters in Delhi or Assam at this time of the year,” said a neighbour.
- Thousands of war heroes sacrificed their lives for our motherland. Politicians don’t remember them anymore. For them, it’s history. They don’t feel the pain because none of their beloved was a part of ‘Operation Vijay’.
Trust me there will be lot of people who may not know who Kanad Bhattacharya was and how brutally he was killed.
When will the sacrifices of these soldiers awaken the patriotism of the countrymen to build India to be a strong and prosperous country? I am sure that will be a true tribute to these martyrs (Salute the National Flag).
It is not true that all of us have forgotten our heroes, however what was our contribution after completing 12 years of Kargil incident? Before to utter any word just ask yourself. Some of us who are working in shadows have avenged some of the fallen. It doesn’t matter what means are used to justify revenge.
Picture of Shrine at Baranagar is placed in a different way. Why? Ask yourself !!!!
Some of those who tortured Capt Kalia, Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya felt every shout, every cry, every plea; every drop of blood that fell on ground was a tribute to these fallen warriors. Rest Assured, overt war may be over, but covert will keep on going.
So many unsung and unknown heroes who are / were silently but firmly serving our motherland and people…They are real heroes… above any caste or creed!! Our heartfelt solace to the parents of these martyrs. We wish from our heart that every person could have such patriotic feeling for the nation.
- We Salute the Great Soldiers of India.
- They laid down themselves for OUR BETTER TOMORROW………
A MERE WATAN KE LOGO………………….
JARA ANKH MEIN BHAR LO PANI………
JO SAHEED HUE HAIN UNKI………………
JARA YAAD KARO KURBANI…………….
Courtesy: The Indian Army, Flags of Honour Foundation, The Telegraph, The Tribune
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