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Kargil War: Remembering Vikram Batra and Saurabh Kalia-war heroes of India

The 26th of July on Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas or Operation Vijay. India had successfully managed to win back all the territories that had been conquered by the Pakistan military.

The war between India and its age-old enemy Pakistan started in May 1999 and continued on for more than 60 days along the Line Of Control (LoC) till the 26th of July. They crossed the LoC and intruded 4-10 km into Indian territory and occupied 130 winter-vacated Indian posts.

The war triggered when Pakistani soldiers impersonating Kashmiri militants penetrated into the Indian side of Kashmir.

Before long, the war was now in full swing. One by one, the Indian army started recapturing the lost areas, an important one being Tiger Hill.

Both sides suffered heavy losses, with Pakistan and India losing more than 400 soldiers each.

However, a few young heroes who died fighting in the war for the country struck a chord in our hearts.

 

Vikram Batra

The war hero comes up in our mind as soon as we think about the Kargil War. Captain Vikram Batra was killed fighting Pakistani soldiers at Pt 4875. The ‘ledge’ on which he was engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Pakistani soldiers is now known as ‘Batra Top’. He was often referred to as ‘’Sher Shah’’ (“Lion King”) in the intercepted messages of the Pakistan Army. Batra is also known for his famous slogan ‘Yeh Dil Mange More! (The heart wants more).

Batra was given Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military honour, after his martyrdom on January 26. He still serves as an inspiration to the Army.

 

 

Saurabh Kalia

One of the earlier casualties of the war, Captain Saurabh Kalia had gone with five soldiers for a mission to recapture one of the surveying mission n Kargil in the first week of June 1999.

However, the team never returned. A week later, Pakistan sent the bodies of the six soldiers. The soldiers were brutally assaulted was an understatement. The bodies were without their vital parts, their eyeballs were gouged out and their noses, ears and genitals chopped off before he was shot dead. The post mortem report revealed some more unimaginable acts. The inhuman behaviour gained some major international attention.

Kalia’s family is still fighting for justice. However, the matter continues to be ignored by international authorities. Recently, a family member of Kalia said that aggressiveness shown by the government in case of Abhinandan was missing then.

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