Never forget, never forgive – our homage to the 20 Galwan Valley martyrs

On 15 June 2020, Bharat suffered an incredible blow in losing 20 bravehearts to the Chinese attack on our unarmed soldiers at Galwan Valley. Despite being there on a de-escalation mission, our soldiers were unilaterally attacked with vicious melee weapons when they were on disadvantageous terrain. The nation will come to terms with this loss in due course of time but the families who lost their only sons or only breadwinners or family heads will take longer.  The soldiers who came from different backgrounds, states, and cultures had only one thing in common and that is their love and commitment to the nation. To honour their sacrifice, we must always cherish their memories.  Here we introduce each fallen soldier and their families so that their remembrance is never faded from our collective minds.

Of the total number of soldiers who attained Veegati (martyrs), twelve belonged to 16 Bihar Regiment, three were from 3 Punjab Regiment and two bravehearts were soldiers of 3 Medium Regiment. One martyr each belonged to 12 Bihar Regiment, 81 Mount Brigade Signal Company, 81 Field Regiment,

Most of the soldiers belonged to Bihar and Punjab and one each from Tamilnadu & Himachal Pradesh. West Bengal, Odisha & Madhya Pradesh also lost 2 Jawans each for the nation.  The troops were led by Telengana office Colonel Santosh Babu.

  • Colonel Santosh Babu

16 Bihar Regiment

Colonel Santosh Babu, who hailed from Suryapet district in Telangana, was serving in the 16 Bihar regiment as Commanding Officer, his father said. He is survived by his wife, daughter Abhigna (9) and son Anirudh (4), who are residing in Delhi.

Colonel Santosh Babu

After the primary schooling in Suryapet, Santosh took admission in Sainik School, Korkukonda. Later, he joined the graduation course at National Defence Academy in Pune and the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun. In 2004, he was commissioned into the 16 Bihar regiment and his first posting was in Jammu.

Despite being crestfallen Babu’s mother said that she is proud that her son sacrificed (his life) for the nation. Babu’s parents told reporters that he last spoke to them on 14 June, two days before he lost his life in the line of duty.

“You sent me to the army, now let me do my duty,” Babu told his parents over the call. When his parents asked him about the situation on the border, he added, “you are not supposed to ask me that and I cannot tell you anything. Everything is fine.”

“I could not join the army and serve my country. So I wanted my son to join the defence forces and serve our country even though my relatives discouraged the idea,” B Upender, father of the slain Colonel Santosh Babu and a retired banker, said.

  • Havaldar K Palani

81 Field Regiment

Havildar Pazhani hails from Kadukkalur village Ramanathapuram district in southern Tamilnadu. Palani has two schoolgoing-kids- a son who is studying in 6th grade and a daughter who is into her 3rd grade. The slain soldier’s wife P. Vanathi (35 years old) is a degree holder and works as a clerk at a college in the Ramanathapuram district. He had served the nation for 22 years and was planning to retire next year.

Havaldar K Palani

 

Palani’s blood, sweat, and tears went into educating his brother and marrying off his sister, family sources recalled.

“Villagers looked up to him for his depth of knowledge on current affairs. He later completed a BA in History through distance education mode and encouraged his wife to complete the B.Ed course after marriage.

Strongly motivated by Palani, his brother Idhayakani (in his early 20s) too joined the armed forces and now works in the clerical cadre in Rajasthan. Palani’s love for serving the nation did not end there. He also dreamt and spoke of making his children join the armed forces when they grow up.

It was only on June 3 that his family had finally moved into their own house in Kazhugoorani (Ramanathapuram taluk), built by taking a loan of about Rs 17 lakhs. Tamil Nadu Government has announced a solatium of Rs 20 lakhs for Palani’s family and a government job would be given to one of his family members.

 

  • Sepoy Kundan Kumar Ojha

16 Bihar Regiment

Ojha, a native of Dihari village of Sahibganj in Jharkhand, got recruited in the 16 Bihar Danapur Regiment of the Indian Army in 2011. He was the second child of Shrimati Bhawani Dewi and Shri Ravi Shankar Ojha, a farmer. His brothers, Mukesh Kumar Ojha and Kanhaiyya Kumar Ojha, work in private companies at Dhanbad and Gooda respectively. He was married to Neha Devi from Mirhati in 2017 and had just become a father of girl 17 days before his demise. He never saw his child or held her in his arms.

Sepoy Kundan Kumar Ojha
  •  Sepoy Ankush Thakur

3 Punjab Regiment

The 21-year-old sepoy was recruited to the Punjab Regiment in 2018 and was a resident of Karohta, a village in Bhoranj subdivision of Himachal Pradesh. His father and grandfather had also served in the Indian Army. Thakur has a younger brother who is studying in class six.

Sepoy Ankush Thakur
  • Havildar Sunil Kumar Jha

16 Bihar Regiment

Havildar Sunil Kumar was a resident of Dhibra village under Parsa police station in Saran district. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar paid homage to havildar Sunil Kumar who attained Veergati in the deadly ambush. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

Havildar Sunil Kumar Jha
  • Deepak Singh Gaharwar

16 Bihar Regiment

Deepak, whose marriage was solemnized in November 2019 belonged to Farhadi village, Mangawan of Riva district, Madhya Pradesh. His elder brother is also in the army. Last time he was home on the occasion of Holi festival. The younger son of farmer Gajraj Singh, his mother had died when he was young. His grandmother Phoolmati Devi raised him.  He is survived by wife Rekha Singh.

Deepak Singh Gaharwar
  • Ganesh Kunjam

16 Bihar Regiment

Originally hailing from Gidhali village, Kurutola, Kanker, Chhattisgarh he was posted on the China border just a month back. Coming from a very poor family, he was the only son of his farmer parents. At the age of 18 years, he joined the army in 2011 and served the nation for 9 years. When he came home last time, the parents had fixed his marriage.

Ganesh Kunjam
  • Ganesh Kumar Hansda

16 Bihar Regiment

23-year-old Sepoy Ganesh joined the army in 2018 and after his training in Danapur, Bihar, he was posted at Leh. He belonged to Lal Bharagora of Jharkhand. Ganesh’s brother said that the family talked to Ganesh two weeks back in which Ganesh said that he is doing fine and they should not worry about him. His mother Kapra and father Subda Hansda were planning to get him married but alas that will never happen now.  The young sepoy was on his first posting at Leh. Despite the setback, the family says given a chance again they will fight for the country.

Ganesh Hansda
  • Kundan Kumar

16 Bihar Regiment

Kundan Kumar who was martyred at Galwan is survived by wife Baby Devi and sons Roshan (6) and Rana (4).  He belonged to Aaran village, Satarkataiyya of Bihar’s Saharsa District.  His wife has demanded that his death be revenged and justice be done to him. His father has asserted that after growing up, both his grandchildren will join the army and serve the nation.

Kundan Kumar
  • Constable Aman Kumar

16 Bihar Regiment

This 25-year-old Samastipur Bihar native of Sultanpur village in Mohiuddin Nagar had joined the army in 2014. He was married in 2019 and is survived by father, mother, wife, and 3 siblings. His father Sudhir Kumar Singh who is heart patient remarked “I got the news of my son’s martyrdom last night through a call from Army. I am proud my son laid his life in the line of duty. There is a sense of anger within me and want 18 heads for every soldier who died on the border. I am willing to send my younger son also in the army to serve the motherland.” Before leaving, Aman Kumar had promised his father that he will take him to Delhi for treatment of his heart ailment. A promise he could not fulfill.

Constable Aman Kumar
  • Constable Rajesh Oraon

16 Bihar Regiment

This son of Bengal was born in Belgoria village in Birbhum district to farmer Subhash & Mamta. He was planning to get married in his next holidays. His father rendered speechless with grief only managed to say “My son served the country and gave his life for it”. His younger sister Shakuntala told reporters that Rajesh always wanted to serve the nation and he was quite pleased when he joined the army.

Constable Rajesh Oraon
  • Sepoy Gurtej Singh

3 Punjab Regiment

Sepoy Gurtej Singh hailed from a family of soldiers from village Beerewala Dogra of Punjab. His uncle had participated in the Kargil war and hence he knew what army life is all about. Even though he wanted to go abroad for better prospects initially, later he chose the army. “He had even cleared the IELTS exam after Class XII in the non-medical stream, but then an urge to serve the nation rose in him. He prepared for the Army recruitment exams and joined the Army in 2018 December,” said his father Virsa Singh. Virsa Singh also feels proud that his son laid down his life fighting for the nation.

Gurtej Singh

 

  • Naib Subedar Satnam Singh

3 Medium Regiment

Martyr Satnam Singh who was born on 18 January 1979 is survived by two children Sandip Kaur and Prabhjot Singh and wife Jasvinder. His brother Subedar Sukhchain Singh who is also in the army, wants to take revenge for his martyrdom.

Naib Subedar Satnam Singh
  • Naib Subedar Mandeep Singh

3 Medium Regiment

The 40-year-old gunner instructor of his unit was resident of Seel village of Patiala’s Ghanaur block. He wanted his children to be officers in the army. He was the sole breadwinner of the family. He is survived by his mother Shakuntala, wife Gurdeep Kaur, and two children, namely Mehakpreet Kaur (15) and Jobanpreet Singh (12). Villagers said he had been in the village for nearly a month before leaving for duty.

Naib Subedar Mandeep Singh
  • Constable Gurwinder Singh

3 Punjab Regiment

The youngest of his family and also Punjab’s martyrs of Galwan, Sangroor native Gurvinder Singh was only 22 years old when he attained martyrdom. He was engaged eight months back and planned to get married in November. Initially, his mother was not told about his martyrdom fearing that she would not be able to bear the tragic news. She was told that he was seriously injured in the attack. When villagers started coming to express their grief, his father Labh Singh didn’t let them sit on the floor so that mother Charanjit Kaur does not find out of his passing away. Brother Gurpreet Singh told reporters that Gurvinder was very patriotic since childhood.

Constable Gurwinder Singh
  • Havildar Bipul Roy

81 Mount Brigade Signal Company

The Meerut resident was the only martyr from 81 Mount Brigade Signal Company in Galwan. He was 34 years old and was native of Alipordwar, Jalpaiguri in West Bengal where his parents still live. He is survived by a 5-year-old daughter, wife Rampa, and elderly parents.

“He had always dreamed of serving the nation as a member of the defence forces. After passing the higher secondary exam in 2003, he joined the army. We are proud of him,” said Niren, a farmer.

Havildar Bipul Roy
  • Sepoy CK Pradhan

16 Bihar Regiment

One of the two Odia braves who laid down their lives at Galwan, Tribal youth Pradhan was highly sincere towards his duty. “He was courageous, simple, and hard-working,” said his father Karunakar Pradhan. He further added “We feel proud that he has laid down his life for the motherland. We received the information about the tragedy at 11 pm on Tuesday. We are waiting for his body, which is expected to reach our village in a day or two,”

Pradhan who was the sole breadwinner of the family belonged to Biarpanga village in Kandhamal district’s Raikia block.

Chandrakant Pradhan
  • Naib Subedar Nanduram Soren

16 Bihar Regiment

43-year-old Soren was from a village in Bijatola block’s Champauda in the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. He joined the army in 1997 just after passing 12th and was serving the nation diligently since then.

“He was the eldest among us 4 brothers and used to help us financially. As our parents are no more, he was the head of the family,” said his younger brother Daman Soren. He is survived by his wife and three school-going daughters. Friendly with all villagers, his loss is mourned by everyone. A villager M N Mahato remarked that the entire village is proud of his sacrifice.

Naib Subedar Nanduram Soren

(Featured Image Source: Reddit)


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