Earlier in 2016, a group of terrorists, believed to be 4-5 in number, attacked the Pathankot Air Force base in Punjab. Today marks the first anniversary of the Pathankot attack, one of the deadliest attacks on Indian military base by terrorists. The encounter is reported to have started around 3:30 am on 2nd January 2016.
A year passed by with diplomats yet to “discuss” this issue. What we forget in the process is the supreme sacrifices made by the heroes whom we know very little about. The martyrs included a Garud Commando, 5 personnel of the Defence Security Corps (DSC) and an NSG commando.
We at SSBCrack in their honour, bring you the 7 forgotten martyrs of the Pathankot terror attack on its very first anniversary:
- Corporal Gursewak Singh:
Gursewak was a Garud commando of the Indian Air Force. The 25-year-old Gursewak, got married on 18th November 2015. Gursewak, whose icon was legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, had joined IAF in 2010 after completing his graduation.
He was from Ambala and was married a mere 45 days ago before the attack. His father Sucha Singh also served in the army and his brother Hardeep too is in the defence forces.
Gursewak’s village is known to have made a significant contribution to the defence forces by sending its youth to join the services. Proving this fact, Gursewak had cleared the air force examination in his first attempt.
- Sub Major Fateh Singh:
Subedar Major (Honorary Captain) Fateh Singh was a retired Indian Army JCO from the 15th Battalion of the Dogra Regiment and sports shooter. He won gold and silver medal in the big bore individual and team events in the Commonwealth Shooting Championships in 1995 in New Delhi.
He joined the Defence Service Corps after retirement and was posted at the Pathankot air base at the time he got martyred.
- Hawaldar Kulwant Singh:
Hailing from Punjab, Kulwant was never posted to Punjab during his 30 years of service. But just two months before the attacks, he got a chance to stay with his family when he was posted in Pathankot.
49 years old, he was from Gurdaspur district of Punjab joined the army at the age of 19. In 2004, he retired from the army and in 2006, he joined Defence Security Corps.
He is survived by his mother, wife and two sons. His family said Kulwant was patriotic and would even write patriotic songs. The villagers remembered him as a happy-go-lucky, honest and sincere man.
- Subedar Jagdish Chand:
Subedar Jagdish Chand was in the mess at the Pathankot Air Base working as a cook, getting breakfast ready when the militants attacked.
Hailing from Chamba district, in Himachal Pradesh, he has been transferred from Leh to Pathankot a few months ago. He had returned to Pathankot from a leave only a day before the attack.
During the attack, 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.
- Lance Naik Phoolwant Singh:
Another personnel of the Defense Security Corps, Lance Naik Phoolwant Singh was also posted to AFS Pathankot during the attack.
He was from the Gurudaspur district of Punjab. Trying to eliminate the terrorists, Phoolwant was shot with several bullets and was critically wounded.
Finally, he succumbed to his injuries on January 3, 2016. His passion, to serve the country, ended up with his body wrapped with the tri-colour. Phoolwant achieved his dream death.
- Havaldar Sanjeevan Singh Rana:
Havildar Sanjeevan Singh Rana was from Himachal Pradesh. At 51 years, he was the only earner of his family and survived by a wife and three children.
In 2009, he retired from Dogra Regiment and joined the Defence Service Corps. His father, Rattan Rana also served in the army.
During the attack, he suffered five bullet injuries and martyred on the first day of the attack.
- Lt Col EK Niranjan:
The sole purpose of keeping this name at the last was to highlight the sacrifices of 6 other people who were not officers. You have heard this name all over the news, but how many of the other 6 names have you heard so frequently?
To say the least, Niranjan was an NSG Commando and martyred while defusing a grenade after the attack. Four jawans were also injured in the grenade blast.
At 31, he was a member of the bomb disposal squad of the NSG and is survived by his wife and two-year-old daughter. He was later recommended for a gallantry award.
We salute the sacrifices of the brave soldiers in the protection of the nation in the best of nations interest without in true standards of the Indian military. May their souls rest in peace!
Though not much information exists on these brave-hearts, all information is sourced from various press releases and reports. We do not guarantee the accuracy of some of the information/images.