New Delhi: On July 26, 1999, the Indian Armed Forces won a gritty and decisive war against Pakistan. In the fierce battle, many brave young soldiers laid down their lives defending their nation on the inhospitable battlefield of Kargil. The turning point of this war came out to be the capture of point 5410 and thereafter point 4875 by the Indian army. The capture of both of these features would not have been possible without the valiant efforts of Captain Vikram Batra and his team who annihilated the enemy defense forces on both of these features.
In spite of the enemy having the advantage of height, Vikram and his men led a brilliant tactical assault on the enemy. The enemy camp was routed, their soldiers killed and 13 J&K Rifles won a decisive victory that strengthened India’s hold on the territory (which later led to the fall of Tiger Hill, and to India’s eventual victory). It was during this capture that Batra, stationed at his base, gave his famous quote,” Ye dil maange more” — while speaking to his commanding officer.
Vikram’s next operation was one of the most difficult mountain warfare campaigns undertaken during Kargil – the capture of the 17000 feet high Point 4875. The icy slopes of this peak were 80-degree steep (made even more precarious by the thick fog) and Pakistani troops had positioned themselves at the height of 16000 feet.
On the night of July 7, Vikram and his men began their tortuous climb to fortify the Indian force — which was already fighting the invaders at 16,000 feet. The enemy got wind that the formidable Sher Shah (Vikram’s code name) had arrived and intensified their attack, raining mortar and automatic fire from above. They knew who Sher Shah was — by then, the young captain’s military prowess had become the stuff of legend on both sides.
Vikram counter-attacked ferociously, supported ably by his friend and fellow officer, Anuj Nayyar. Engaging in hand-to-hand combat, clearing enemy bunkers and egging their men forward, the two bravehearts forced the shocked enemy to retreat.
The mission was almost over when a junior officer injured his legs in an explosion. As Vikram rushed out of the bunker to rescue him, his subedar begged him not to go and said he would go instead. But Vikram told him: “Tu baal-bacchedar hain, hat ja peeche.” (You have children, step aside)”.
Under heavy fire, he hurled grenades at the enemy’s machine gun post and killed five soldiers in close combat while moving towards the injured lieutenant. He had just reached and was lunging to lift his mate when he was hit by a bullet in his chest.
Mortally wounded, Vikram passed way after completing the mission in a manner that etched his name alongside some of India’s greatest military heroes. His comrade in battle, Captain Anuj Nayyar, had also died while clearing enemy bunkers. By morning, India had recaptured Peak 4875 (now called Vikram Batra Top) but lost two of her bravest sons.
Here are some of the heartwarming tributes for the braveheart on Twitter:
People from all walks of life took to Twitter to remember captain Batra and wished him his 44th birthday. India’s star-cricketer Virender Sehwag tweeted:
The official Twitter handle of Congress also tweeted its condolences to the Sher-shah of Kargil war