Wed, Mar 29, 2017 | updated 08:54 AM IST

Remembering the Battle of Rezang La

Updated: Nov 22, 2016 08:49 IST

By I. Ramamohan Rao

New Delhi, Nov.22 (ANI) The Kumaon Regiment observed the anniversary of the Battle of Rezangla during the week-end.

My thoughts go back to the year 1963 when, I had the opportunity to cover the inauguration of a war memorial constructed in honor of the jawans of the Charlie Company of the 13th battalion of the Kumaon Regiment, which was led by Major Shaitan Singh, who held the Rezang La feature overlooking Chushul literally to the last man and the last round.

While people knew of the reverses the country suffered in the Eastern Sector, not much was known about the brave resistance put up by the Indian Army in Ladakh. The jawans of the Kumaon Regiment held their ground at Rezang La and stopped the progress of the Chinese towards Chushul.

The Chinese Army carried out a massive assault on November 18 at Rezang La, which is located at a height of 5,180 meters after an artillery barrage. The Kumaon Regiment only had mortars to respond. They decided to respond to the attack the Chinese Army with their rifles and with their war cry "Dada Kishan Ki Jai'.

Only nine jawans of the Company of 118 survived. Major Shaitan Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously.

Asked to cover the function, I flew to Leh from Jammu where I was posted and proceeded by road to Chushul. It took me two days to reach Chushul by jeep from Leh. I had to travel along the banks of the River Indus and turn westwards from Dungti towards Pangong Lake.

After resting the night at Chushul, I reached the site of the memorial an hour earlier to cover the inaugural ceremony. Going around, I noticed the cover of a candy box with a picture of Lord Krishna on the barbed wire of the memorial.

The Junior Commissioned Officer who was in charge of the location mentioned to me that all the soldiers of the company were Ahirs who worshipped Lord Krishna. He told me that when he went to collect the bodies of the jawans, each one of them had either a rifle or a mortar. The cover of the candy box was in the hand of one soldier. He said the jawan must have taken the candy cover from his haversack to offer prayers in his last moments.

I took a picture of the candy cover with the memorial at the back with my Rolliflex camera. The memorial was inaugurated early in the morning by Major General Budh Singh, then GOC of the 3rd Division.

Following the inauguration, I requested Major General Budh Singh whether I could accompany him in his helicopter to Leh, as I wanted to go to Delhi to release the picture. He agreed.

In an hour we reached Leh. I boarded a C-130 cargo aircraft operated by the US Air Force between Delhi and Leh. By noon, I was at Delhi airport.

Those days we had to get the photographs taken in forward areas cleared by the military intelligence directorate before releasing them. The military intelligence officer refused to clear the picture, even though I told him that the site of the memorial was visible to the Chinese through their binoculars from their location near Rezang La.

I rushed to the Director of Public Relations, G.G. Mirchandani. He gave me the clearance to release it.

Next morning, the photograph got a front page display in almost all Delhi newspapers and outside.

I also got a call the next day from the Director of Military Intelligence. I was afraid that I , a young army captain, would be facing punishment. I was surprised when he complimented me and said that in future, if I had any problem, I could approach him.

And the next time I visited Leh, Major General Budh Singh invited me into his office, offered me a cup of tea, a rare honour for an army captain.

Incidentally, a suggestion to include the story of the battle has been made by Gaurav Sawant, whose father Brigadier Chittaranjan Sawant became a colleague and was in charge of the broadcasting section. The then Human Resources Develepment Minister promised to consider the request, but nothing seems to have happened. One hopes that the Government would take up the issue , which would be a honour to the Jawans who laid down their lives in the epic battle.

Mr. I.Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India. He can be reached on his e-mail: raoramamohan@hotmail.com. (ANI)

Kapurthala (Punjab) [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): The recovery of some balloons, coins and a white paper carrying some message and a map created quite a panic in Punjab's Kapurthala.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): The Delhi High Court will on Wednesday hear a plea filed by Vodafone India, alleging that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had failed to prohibit Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd's (RJIO) "blatant violation" of tariff orders, directions and regulations by permitting it to continue with its free offers.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): The Delhi High Court will on Wednesday pronounce its order in Swaraj Abhiyan's plea seeking allotment of common symbol to the party to contest the upcoming municipal elections in the national capital.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): The Supreme Court will on Wednesday a batch of petitions filed by several state governments seeking modification of its order banning liquor shops within 500 metres of State and National Highways across the country.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): In a unique gesture, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will on Wednesday present footballs to all MPs of both Houses of Parliament at a function near the Gandhi statue at Parliament.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a plea filed by Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) chief and former BCCI president Anurag Thakur in connection with the allegations of encroaching land to construct the Dharamsala cricket stadium.

Full Story >>

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): With Tamil Nadu farmers protesting in Delhi's Jantar Mantar for the past 15 days demanding drought relief package from the Centre, the Congress on Wednesday urged the government to consider the matter "urgently" and allocate money as demanded.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): After Air India cancelled Shiv Sena member Ravindra Gaikwad ticket post levying a travel ban, the Congress on Wednesday advised the beleaguered parliamentarian to tender an apology to the national carrier and put the matter to an end.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): As Jammu and Kashmir is again facing turbulence after three civilians were killed by the security forces during a stone pelting incident, defence expert Uday Bhaskar on Wednesday urged the Centre to chalk out a political solution to end the current crisis in the valley.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 29 (ANI): Kashmiri activist Sushil Pandit on Wednesday urged that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Government must not promote the idea of talks with separatist leaders.

Full Story >>

GST bill to be discussed in Lok Sabha today

Updated: Mar 29, 2017 06:45 IST

New Delhi [India],Mar 29 (ANI): The Lok Sabha will take up Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill for discussion and passage today.

Full Story >>

Mumbai [India],Mar 29 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday slammed Congress leader M.M. Hassan for his remarks against menstruating women and asked him to think before making such immature comments.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 29 (ANI): In the wake of incidents of mass cheating being reported from Uttar Pradesh, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma on Wednesday said that adequate steps are being taken to eradicate the 'nakal mafia' from the state.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 29 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said that the recently concluded encounter in Budgam district of Kashmir clearly depicts that supply of terrorists from across the border is continuing to disrupt the tranquility in the valley.

Full Story >>

Women activist demands counselling for Hassan

Updated: Mar 29, 2017 06:25 IST

New Delhi (India), Mar 29 (ANI): Women activist Ranjana Kumari on Wednesday asserted that Congress leader M.M.Hassan should be sent for counselling under a medical practitioner who could enlighten the politician that there is nothing pure or impure in regard with menstruation.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): The government has listed the Goods and Services Tax Bill (GST) Bills in its agenda in the Lok Sabha for discussion and passage on Wednesday.

Full Story >>

Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): While Moradabad's non-vegetarian biryani is making itself famous abroad, its taste seems to be deteriorating in Uttar Pradesh.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): A 21-year-old-woman and her friend were harassed by two police personnel today near Surajkund at Faridabad.

Full Story >>

Srinagar [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): In view of the volatile law and order situation in the Valley post the Budgam encounter, where stone pelting was also witnessed resulting in the death of three locals, Railway services will remain suspended throughout Kashmir tomorrow.

Full Story >>

Leh (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): The Leh Forest department on Tuesday carried out a mass plantation drive at Council Secretariat Leh, celebrating Forest Day to spread awareness among public for safeguarding the environment.

Full Story >>