Can India Pause and Mourn the Five Brave Soldiers Martyred in Kashmir?

Social Commentary

Can India Pause and Mourn the Five Brave Soldiers Martyred in Kashmir?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

On April 4, as the country prepared for a nationwide show of solidarity against coronavirus by lighting candles, an encounter between Indian army paratroopers and terrorists resulted in the martyrdom of five Indian commandos. The Kupwara encounter, as it is being referred to in the media, saw two teams of commandos from the 4 Para (Special Forces) called in to track five terrorists who had crossed into Indian territory from the Pakistani side of the border.

News reports of the encounter state that the terrorists were first observed by search parties from the 8 Jat Regiment. They employed evasive tactics while engaging in brief skirmishes with the forces. Troops from 41 and 57 Rashtriya Rifles were also deployed. Finally, the two squads from the Special Forces were called in and dropped off on top of a snowclad hill. The militants were tracked to the Zurhama forest in Kupwara, where they went into hiding.

One squad of the Special Forces had tracked the terrorists into the forest, when the snow under the feet of two soldiers gave way, sending them sliding down a nullah, coincidentally into the terrorists’ hiding spot. The two soldiers immediately engaged the enemy, with the rest of the squad following them down to offer support. Four terrorists were killed on the spot, while the fifth was killed by troops from 8 Jat as he attempted to flee back over the border.

The Kupwara encounter made martyrs of five brave Indian soldiers. Reports of the incident shed light on the bravery displayed by them under fire. One soldier, Paratrooper Amit Kumar, was hit by 15 bullets but still persevered in his mission to protect the country.

The five soldiers who laid down their lives for the country will be remembered for their brave sacrifice. Their names were Subedar Sanjiv Kumar, Paratrooper Bal Krishnan, Paratrooper Chhatrapal Singh, Havildar Davendra Singh, and the aforementioned Paratrooper Amit Kumar.

Even as the rest of the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus scare, these valiant servicemen continue to protect the country from external threats, even when we are not lighting candles for them.