2016 began with the terrible news of a terror attack at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot. While we still don’t have news of its conclusion, seven Indians defence personnel have already died in the attack.
These are the heroes who laid down their lives to protect ours:
A member of NSG’s Bomb Disposal Squad, the 35-year-old commando was killed while defusing a grenade at the scene of the attack.The 34-year-old is survived by his wife, two-year-old daughter and his father. A Bengaluru resident, he was promoted to the post of Lt Col in the NSG just a few months ago.
51-year-old Fateh Singh had joined the Defence Security Corps (DSC) after serving in the army as Subedar Major. He died during the combing operations on 3 January.
“He was a thorough gentlemen and great athlete. He worked as an active member of Indian shooting team. It is a very sad day for us. He sacrificed his life for the country. I condole his death,” National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh said.
Singh was from Ambala. Hit during the initial round of gunfire, he continued to fight but died before medical help arrived. He was married a mere 45 days ago. He joined the army six years ago after completing his graduation. His father Sucha Singh, a farmer, described him as an intelligent and bright young man who passed the Air Force entrance exam in his first attempt. Even though his family is deeply shocked to learn of his death, his father has said that he is proud that his son gave his life for his country.
Singh was a resident of Gurdaspur.
The 51-year-old Rana was from Siyunh village in Himachal Pradesh. He is survived by his wife Pinky Devi, two daughters, and a son. Rana, the sole breadwinner of his family, died after five bullets hit him in the chest when terrorists entered the air force base. His father, Rattan Rana, had served in the army before him.
From Chamba district, also in Himachal Pradesh, Chand was transferred from Leh to Pathankot a few months ago. He was in his village — Gola — on a 10-day leave; he had returned to Pathankot only a day before the attack. Chand, a cook at the base, was in the kitchen when the terrorists entered; he wrestled a rifle from the attacker and killed him with the terrorist’s own weapon. He was caught in a hail of enemy fire and succumbed to his injuries. He is survived by his wife, a son, and two daughters.
Also from Gurdaspur, Singh passed away in the hospital during the night. Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh was one of two jawans killed by Pakistani troops near the Line of Control in Kashmir on Tuesday. At his Dadhiya village, in eastern Madhya Pradesh, his fellow-soldier Sandeep Singh, who accompanied the body, described the martyr’s last moments. Sudhakar’s last words before he fell prey to bullet wounds, were “Bharat Mata ki Jai (Glory to Mother India),” he said. He remembers the martyr as a great leader and good friend.
Ten security personnel remain in hospital at the base, many of them in serious condition, according to military sources.