“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.”
I have been reading Soldier stories of Kashmir and have turned out to be an ardent follower of the blog. The articles which have been coming out through this blog have been inspiring, and have connected thousands of people emotionally through their stories. The stories have served as source of inspiration for many and have also brought back similar memories to all those who have served in army. After reading all those articles, I couldn’t stop myself from writing this heroic tale of father and son who served in the same battalion, have laid down their lives in line of duty and have become immortal in minds of people.
I have served in the sixth battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. From my days of enrollment into army, Jasbir has been my best buddy. The heroic tale of his father was already known to everyone in the battalion. Jassi was always cheerful and mingled well with others. He was the one person whom everyone relied upon at times of difficulties. He had learnt tough lessons of life at a very young age.
It was 16th April 2002 when a sixteen-year-old lad lost his father Naib Subedar Charan Das, SM in an avalanche while serving in the Northern part of Siachen Glacier in 2002. Late Naib Subedar Charan Das, SM was the post commander at Malaun Post when an avalanche hit the post. He saved eleven lives that day but could not escape from the avalanche. For his gallant act, he was awarded Sena Medal (Posthumously).
Despite the grief and sorrow in the house, a sixteen-year-old boy turned into a man and took responsibility of the entire family. The boy was Jasbir Singh of Sai Khurd village, Jammu and popularly known as Jassi amongst his friends. He didn’t let his family face any difficulty and two years later Jassi decided to join the army.
On 10 Dec 2004, Jassi was enrolled into the Sixth battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, the same unit in which his father served for 27 years. In 2020, the Battalion moved to Tangdhar sector and Jassi was deployed on the Line of Control. He as part of the intelligence team worked rigorously and within a few months, he had established a credible foothold in nearby villages.
THE GALLANT ACT
The area is prone to infiltration and attacks from adversary as the terrain is rugged and extremely mountainous. Due to dense foliage, keeping these areas under positive control is a daunting task.The operational conditions were difficult due to inhospitable terrain, inclement weather and the area was also dominated by enemy posts and the main challenge in the area was to maintain surprise. His company commander had told Naik Jasbir to work towards obtaining actionable intelligence and prepare for intended operations in the near future.
On 07 July 2022, reliable information was received of infiltration attempt in the general area. Naik Jasbir Singh was part of one of the ambushes laid on the fateful night. The ambush was placed in pitch darkness with the aim of maintaining surprise. Due to the dense vegetation and pitch-dark night, visibility was limited to 5-10 metres. At around midnight, ambush parties saw a torch light flashing approximately 250 metres away from the ambush site. Accordingly, the ambush was re-sited and it awaited the terrorists. Before sitting in the ambush site, Jassi’s last words to his fellow Naik Sudesh were “Tu Tagda Rehna, Baki Dekh Lengey” (You stay strong, rest we will see. Don’t worry).”
Naik Jasbir was the first one to spot the terrorists however he delayed opening fire to enable the complete group to enter the killing zone. In the meantime, the leading terrorist changed route and started approaching Naik Jasbir, who with nerves of raw steel allowed the leading terrorist to come less than 10m from his position. Thereafter he opened fire on the leading terrorist and an intense fire fight ensued. Both the heavily armed terrorists started firing in the direction of Naik Jasbir from their automatic weapons. Naik Jasbir killed the leading terrorist, however in the ensuing fire fight Naik Jasbir sustained Gunshot wounds on his upper body. Nevertheless, he kept firing on the second terrorist. Simultaneously, the ambush party opened fire and the second terrorist was also injured.
Meanwhile, lights from two enemy posts above started flashing in the general area and movement was observed at their posts by the ambush party. Naik Jasbir was lying gravely wounded on the ground when the ambush party approached him. He denied evacuation as it would have compromised the operation leading to a greater number of casualties. Later the ambush party evacuated him from the area but the challenging terrain and the threat of fire by the enemy made the evacuation very difficult and time-consuming. Naik Jasbir was brought to the nearest medical aid point where due to excessive blood loss on account of multiple Gun Shot Wounds, he succumbed and was declared dead on arrival.
Naik Jasbir’s sacrifice thwarted the infiltration attempt by terrorists resulting in killing one terrorist and killing/ injuring the second. The ambush party recovered one AK-47, three AK-47 magazines, 208 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, four Pistols, three Pistol Magazines, twelve rounds of Pistol Ammunition and five Hand Grenades along with the body of a dead terrorist. Naik Jasbir’s supreme sacrifice saved the lives of his fellow comrades as well as the civilians who were under threat if these terrorists would have infiltrated.
The courage under fire exhibited by Naik Jasbir Singh was extraordinary. Son of a brave heart he proved his mettle in the need of the hour. Naik Jasbir joined the army after two years of his father’s death. He is survived by his wife and two small children. The spirit of bravery justifies the famous saying,
“To every man upon this earth, Death cometh soon or late. And how can a man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his father and the temples of his Gods”