Kargil Diwas is celebrated every year on July 26 to commemorate the sacrifice made by the soldiers in the Kargil War.
The war took place between May and July 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil district.
The day also marks the success of “Operation Vijay” which was launched in 1999 to reclaim the territories taken by Pakistani invaders in the Kargil Drass region.
Sons of India from the Northeast too laid down their lives to protect their motherland from the invading Pakistani Army troopers.
Let us have a look at few Army Heroes from Northeast and their extraordinary tales of bravery.
1.Captain Jintu Gogoi (Assam)
Captain Jintu was born at Khumtai in Golaghat district of Assam. Captain Jintu Gogoi was commissioned into 17 Garhwal Rifles.
In 1999, his unit was deployed in the Jammu and Kashmir area. When the Kargil War broke out, he was recalled from leave to join his unit, just 12 days after his engagement.
Captain Gogoi was honoured with Vir Chakra on August 15, 1999 for the courage he displayed while leading his troops to evict the enemy from Kala Pathar in the Batalik sector.
On the night of June 2, 1999, Captain Gogoi and his troops were given a mission to clear the enemy from Kala Pathar in the Jubar heights.
Captain Gogoi led his troops to the top of the ridge. However, they were spotted by the enemy and were surrounded from all directions.
On being asked to surrender Captain Gogoi charged at the enemy troops. Capt Gogoi in a daring action killed two enemy soldiers but also got injured during the exchange of fire.
He later succumbed to injuries and his body was found barely 150 yards from the picket on Jubar Top.
Capt Jintu Gogoi was given the gallantry award, “Vir Chakra” posthumously for his bravery in utter disregard for his own safety.
2. Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum (Meghalaya)
Hailing from the city of Shillong in Meghalaya, Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum was born on March 7, 1975.
Capt Nongrum received his high-school education from Don Bosco Technical School in Shillong and completed his graduation in political science from St. Anthony’s College, Shillong.
After finishing the college, his passion to join the Armed Forces led him to join the Officer Training Academy in 1996 in 64th SSC course.
He graduated from the Officers Training Academy, Chennai (OTA) and was commissioned into the 12th battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment.
After the Kargil War broke out, a mission was assigned to 12 JAK LI unit on June 30, 1999 to capture the strategically important Point 4812 in the Batalik sector.
Capt Nongrum was tasked to lead the assault team for this critical mission. On reaching the top, his column faced strong opposition from the enemy forces.
The enemy pinned down the column of Capt Nongrum with heavy automatic fire for about two hours.
He did not take much time to analyse the gravity of the situation and with utter disregard to his personal safety, charged through the fire zone.
Closing in with the first position, he threw grenades into it and killed six enemy soldiers. He then tried to snatch the universal machine gun of the enemy from the second enemy position and received a volley of bullets.
The audacious action of Capt Nongrum not only stunned the enemy but also gave valuable reaction time to his troops to close in and finally clear the position.
Though severely wounded, he refused to be evacuated and fought valiantly till he succumbed to his injuries. This courageous act of Capt Nongrum finally paved the way for the ultimate capture of Point 4812.
Capt Nongrum was given the nation’s second highest gallantry award, “Maha Vir Chakra” for his exceptional bravery, indomitable spirit and supreme sacrifice. Capt Nongrum is the only soldier from the state of Meghalaya to receive this unique honour.
3. Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse (Nagaland)
Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse was born on 15 July 1974 and hailed from Nerhema village in Kohima district of Nagaland.
He did his schooling at St Xavier School in Jalukie and finished his graduation from Kohima Science College.
Capt Kenguruse was commissioned into the Army Service Corps of Indian Army on December 12, 1998.
In 1999, when the Kargil war started, Capt Kenguruse was a junior commander in the Rajputana Rifles battalion deployed in Drass sector.
For his determination and prowess, he was made the lead commander of the Ghatak Platoon of his battalion.
On the fateful night of June 28, 1999, Capt Kenguruse’s Ghatak platoon was given the responsibility of taking out a strategic machine gun post held by the enemy on a cliff face, the Black Rock.
Capt Kenguruse took up the challenge and swung into action along with his spirited troops. About seven Pakistani bunkers stood before them, and heavy artillery greeted their journey up the knife-edge cliff of the hill.
As they were nearing the first bunker, a grenade was thrown at them, which injured Capt Kenguruse severely. He sustained splinter injuries in his abdomen but undeterred, he urged his men to carry on with the assault.
Capt Kenguruse leading from the front decimated the first bunker using a rocket launcher. Motivated by their leader, the commando team moved on further up the cliff.
Capt Kenguruse foothold was slipping due to his boots. At a height of 16,000 feet and a temperature of -10 degree Celsius, Capt Kenguruse kicked off his shoes for better grip and scaled the rock barefoot.
Then two enemy soldiers from the second bunker charged towards him and he engaged them in hand-to-hand combat and hacked them to death with his commando knife.
As he was approaching the third bunker, a stream of bullets threw him off the cliff and he plunged down the cliff, a few hundred feet below.
Capt Kenguruse single-handedly destroyed two bunkers and was responsible for neutralizing the enemy position.
Martyred at the age of 25 years, Capt Kenguruse was given the nation’s second highest gallantry award, “Maha Vir Chakra” for his raw courage, indomitable spirit and supreme sacrifice.
4. Sepoy K Ashuli Mao (Manipur)
Five soldiers from Manipur, who laid down their lives during the war.
The five Manipuri soldiers were Sepoy K Ashuli Mao of the Naga Regiment, who was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra. The other four soldiers were Sepoy Chara Nicholas, Naik Kaleshwor, Ng Beningvir Moyon and Sepoy LNk S. Germinthang.
During Operation Vijay, Sepoy K Ashuli Mao was part of alpha company of 1st Naga Regiment which attacked Black Tooth in the Drass Sector.
A sheer cliff with well-fortified defences dominated the National Highway and was required to be cleared at the earliest. The enemy had occupied these well-coordinated defence of sangars with automatic weapons.
The attack had been temporarily stalled due to the inhospitable terrain. A rope was required to be fixed on to the feature. Sepoy K. Ashuli volunteered to do the daring task unmindful of personal safety.
Braving fearful odds of enemy fire and terrain, clung to mere cracks onto the cliff and slowly made his way up. His strength and courage shaped the way for the company to follow.
On reaching the top, he effectively kept the enemy engaged and along with his comrades assaulted the enemy sangar at Black Tooth and captured it. In this brave action, he was grievously injured.
He later succumbed to his injuries on 23 July 1999.
Sepoy K. Ashuli Mao displayed nerves of steel, exemplary courage, fearlessness under enemy fire and camaraderie of the highest order in keeping with the finest tradition of the Indian Army.
For this act of bravery and exemplary courage he was awarded with third highest war time gallantry award Vir Chakra posthumously.
(Information source: Honour Point)