Rajnath Singh lauds heroes of 1947 war, crucial role played by J-K people

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Rajnath Singh lauds heroes of 1947 war, crucial role played by J-K people

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh heaped praises on the heroes of the 1947 war and also commended the crucial contribution made by people of Jammu and Kashmir in driving out Pakistani infiltrators to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

In his address at an event held at the old airfield, Srinagar to mark the 75th anniversary of the Infantry Day on Thursday, Singh also said “traits of new-born Pakistan could be seen from its nascent stage only”.

Exactly 75 years ago, troops of the Indian Army`s 1 Sikh Regiment had arrived at the old airfield of Srinagar, carried in Dakota aircraft, to protect Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani forces, a day after its then Maharaja Hari Singh signed the `instrument of accession` on October 26, 1947. “The bloody tale of the Partition that was written in 1947, and even its ink had not dried, and a new script of betrayal began to be written by Pakistan. Shortly after the Partition, the character of Pakistan came to the fore, which could never be imagined,” Singh said.

Talks on Jammu and Kashmir integration with India was going on when on October 22, 1947, Pakistan attacked J&K. “The Kabalis were not wearing a military uniform, but they carried guns, mortars, and other combat equipment,” the defence minister said. “From Domal and Muzaffarabad, they moved to Peer Panjal Hills in their attacks. Maharaja Hari Singh was in a fix over the situation as these Pakistani infiltrators plundered, killed and wreaked havoc,” he said.

But, these infiltrators could not succeed against the iron grit and bravery of “our soldiers”, many of whom made the supreme sacrifice while fighting to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, the minister added. Singh in his address asserted that despite a number of stumbling blocks, India has risen time and again, because of the “courage and sacrifice of our soldiers” and today the edifice of India stands tall on the strong foundation laid by them. “The greatest glory, as they say, is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. The incident of 1947 is one such instance,” he said.

Some of the key scenes of the historic landings of the Indian Army troops were reenacted at old airfield, Srinagar, in the presence of Singh, to pay tribute to the brave soldiers and people of Jammu and Kashmir who laid down their lives, and also to honour the next of kin of war heroes who participated in the 1947-48 war. Under command of Lieutenant Colonel Dewan Ranjit Rai, who later laid down his life at Baramulla, the course of the war changed, wherein people and soldiers of State Forces of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Army fought alongside valiantly, to evict Pakistani forces, driving them out of most of Jammu and Kashmir till ceasefire on January 5, 1949.

Singh also extolled the valour of the first Param Vir Chakra recipient, Maj Somnath Sharma, who despite being injured led a company and saved the Srinagar airfield from enemy clutches and in the process made the supreme sacrifice. He also paid glowing tributes to the bravery of other gallantry award winners such as Brig Rajinder Singh and Lt Col Dewan Ranjit Rai.

Major Somnath Sharma, who was there with his men “till his last bullet and last breath”, and other heroes will always remain a source of inspiration for every Indian and the nation will forever be indebted to their sacrifices, the defence minister said. “Here, I would also like to remember former Chief Minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik, who was also a skilled pilot, and made a valuable contribution to the movement of the troops during the war. He may have belonged to different political views, but his contribution to national security will always be remembered, ” the minister said.

He commended the crucial role played by the people of J&K who helped the armed forces in forcing the enemies to retreat, saying, the help rendered by “Kashmiri brothers and sisters deserves fulsome praise”. Singh termed the campaign of October 27, 1947 as the one for safeguarding the country`s territorial integrity as well as the safety of the people. It was a campaign to protect the dreams and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

“On October 27, 1947, Indian Army came through aerial and road routes to Budgam for saving the country`s honour and prestige,” he said. At the venue, huge cut-outs of Brig Rajinder Singh, Brig Mohd Usman, Maj Somnath Sharma and Maqbool Sherwani were mounted, and `Shaurya Diwas` posters were also put up. “These bravehearts played `Holi` with blood in fields of saffron. Three days ago, it was Diwali, so in 1947 too, it must have been near Diwali. And, many laid their lives protecting Jammu and Kashmir against Pakistani forces,” he said.

Singh also said that Pakistan is fully responsible for inhuman incidents against innocent people in PoK. “We are moving forward with the spirit of unity. We must resolve to fight together against any divisive forces which may come in the way of our development in the future,” he said.

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