Gallantry against Pak's 'Napak' plans

Sharing his birthday with Mahatma Gandhi, Havildar Hangpan Dada, born in 1979 in village Boduria, in a far flung area of Tirap District, Arunachal Pradesh, was 18 years old when he was enroled in the Assam Regiment in 1997.

 Posted to 35 Rashtriya Rifles (RR-of the Assam Regiment), since late 2015, Havildar Dada was deployed in the tough terrain adjoining Eagle Pass and Jatti Bowl, on the 13000 feet high Shamsabari Range in Jammu & Kashmir.

As part of this year’s series of infiltration attempts by Pakistani terrorists supported by Pak army, at least five of them heavily armed and later identified as those of Lashkar e Taiyyaba (LeT), were spotted by 35 RR on May 25, 2016.

 Havildar Dada, who has been described by Colonel of Assam Regiment, Lt Gen Subrata Saha,UYSM, YSM, VSM, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning & Systems), and his former commanding officer, Col Kulwant Manta as a cool, calm and courageous soldier and an ideal choice for leading challenging missions, quite typically, volunteered to engage the five LeT terrorists, who were heavily armed and brought down fire on Dada and his team over the next 48 hours.

 With sheer grit and determination, Dada charged at the terrorists, killing the first two on the spot. Despite being hit by a burst of bullets, Dada effectively guided and motivated his team-mates and killed the third terrorist after a scuffle and finally the fourth. His presence of mind saved lives of his team members.

Dada’s body was taken to his native village where the last rites were conducted with military honours in the presence of his wife, Chasen Lowang, 11-year-old daughter Roukhin and six-year-old son Senwang, as well as a large gathering of the villagers and Army personnel. Receiving the folded Tricolour, which had draped the coffin, Chasen was a picture of solemnity and poise in sorrow.

However, the pity and irony is that the sacrifices of bravehearts like Dada, Col Santosh Mahadik and so many other soldiers, security forces, police personnel merely make them statistics in this asymmetric warfare that Pak army, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) have been perpetrating with raised intensity since the BJP assumed power at the Centre and formed a coalition with the PDP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November 2015 meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris, followed by a secret meeting between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok, in which a gamut of issues including peace and security, terrorism, and J&K were discussed, was considered to be a dramatic turn in ties. 

But Mr Modi’s gesture of a surprise visit to Pakistan on Nawaz Sharif’s birthday on Christmas being closely followed by the Pak terrorists’ attack on Pathankot air base, followed by many attacks in J&K, left no doubt about Pak army/ISI’s intentions. India’s offer of Pak officials including an ISI officer coming to Pathankot too was eventually made an absolute mockery of by them.

 Since then, its military and foreign office have been going through all kinds of callisthenics and convulsions which have serious implications not only for India and Afghanistan but also many other countries.

On February 8, 2016, New York Times’ South Africa correspondent Carlotta Gall stated that experts have found a lot of evidence that Pakistan facilitated the Taliban offensive. “This behaviour is not just an issue for Afghanistan. Pakistan is intervening in a number of foreign conflicts. 

Its intelligence service has long acted as the manager of international mujahedeen forces, many of them Sunni extremists, and there is even speculation that it may have been involved in the rise of the Islamic State….Pakistan regards Afghanistan as its backyard. 

Determined not to let its archrival, India, gain influence there, and to ensure that Afghanistan remains in the Sunni Islamist camp, Pakistan has used the Taliban selectively, promoting those who further its agenda and cracking down on those who don’t. 

The same goes for Al Qaeda and other foreign fighters…..It said there are reports that Pakistan had a role in the rise of ISIS....It might come as a surprise that the region’s triumvirate of violent jihad is living openly in Pakistan…First, there’s Siraju-ddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network. Then there is the new leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. Finally, Al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, enjoys sanctuary in Pakistan.”

In October 2014, Lt Gen Saha, then GOC of 15 Corps headquartered in Srinagar had cautioned: "The emergence of the ISIS flags (during protests) merits concern and deserves the highest attention of the security agencies to prevent the youth of Kashmir from getting lured (into ISIS)," While former CM, J&K, Omar Abdullah had dismissively stated “The flag was waved by some idiots, which does not mean that ISIS has any presence in Kashmir” In April 2015 there were reports of not only protesters raising anti-India slogans and waving ISIS and Pakistan flags after Friday prayers at the Jama Masjid, but also of protesters setting ablaze flags of PDP. The waving of ISIS and Pakistani flags has become a routine affair outside the Jama Masjid on Fridays.

There have been at least 25 attacks by Pak army/ISI-supported terrorists in Kashmir valley till mid-June 2016, with over 30 terrorists killed and umpteen incidents of incitement of local populace, particularly youth to disturb peace. After mid-June, there has been a fresh spate of attacks by Pakistani terrorists, including the dastardly one on the CRPF bus. The last days of June have seen multiple attacks.

Another recent act of Pakistan is a sinister mix of piling up a nuclear arsenal by devious means, being a dangerous global liability as a nuclear-armed nation ruled by a rogue army connected with/supporting mad-dog-minded terrorists, its irresponsibility/gung-ho bravado of threatening to use its nukes against India and the lies and irony of its other related statements.

A day after India’s March 2016 successful test-firing of an indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile capable of destroying any incoming ballistic missile, Pakistan claimed that this test will “disturb the balance of power in the region.” Sartaj Aziz , adviser on foreign affairs to Pakistan Prime Minister said that Pakistan will raise its voice at the international level against these developments and will upgrade its defensive capabilities by acquiring advanced technology to improve its defence. 

This is but a classic example of Pakistan’s irresponsibility mentioned as it involves its declared use of “tactical nuclear weapons” against Indian Army if it enters Pakistani soil. Hafiz Saeed also ranted about using nukes against India. Does that mean that apprehensions about terrorists already possessing nukes are true? Such kind of sabre-rattling must be taken serious note of by not only India, but other major powers, particularly the US and China.

It is reiterated that India needs to make it unaffordable for Pakistan to continue its proxy war by terror by developing the capacity to strike effectively against Pakistan’s terrorist assets. Simultaneously, BJP’s ideologues must reign in the “fringe” liabilities and meaningfully change not merely the uniform of baggy shorts and staffs but also the negative baggage and effect a total makeover of its socio- psychological conditioning. These measures are urgently necessary for maintaining India’s effectiveness in combating terrorism and support for it from within the country and from other nations.

In J&K, separatists have been in overdrive since BJP assumed power by constantly inciting public against India, motivating youth/arranging for them to revert to militancy and becoming a major impediment to the return of Kashmiri Pandits.

 Instead of allowing the separatist traitors to periodically enjoy biryani and anti-India planning with the Pakistani High Commissioner, it is high time that they and their network of organisers are all rounded up and kept segregated in separate jails. Till then, Indian Army and security forces there are unfortunately destined to lose many more personnel, while the public gets radicalised. 

(The views expressed are strictly personal.)

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