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Friday, January 02, 2015

A few good men

My bet is that you will not read about this in the newspapers tomorrow because the pages will be filled with more important news about the cleavage of actresses and the lavish wedding of corrupt politicians’ spawns.

A friend from school is a Flight Lieutenant in Indian Air Force (IAF). He is based in Rajasthan currently, but his previous unit was in Kashmir. He volunteered for his previous unit for an Area Domination Patrol (ADP) at Mendhar, Kashmir, based on the input of IB, RAW and local intelligence.  They were a group of 7 on a joint counter-insurgency operation, with men from both the Indian Army and the IAF.  Terrorists (he estimates about 200 men) were trying to infiltrate from three sides at around 4 in the morning. The terrorists opened fire, and the unit changed positions for a counter-attack making them believe they were greater in number.  They killed five terrorists and lost one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), who was due for promotion. The terrorists raised a white flag, which our men respected and ceased fire. My friend was shot in the shoulder when he was trying to retrieve the dead body of the JCO.

The unit returned to base with their wounded and the fallen by walking back 8 km. A little dizzy from the loss of blood, my friend had a surgery around 5 pm that lasted for an hour. Media called during his surgery to ask about the nature of the ops and the infiltration. They asked how many terrorists were killed. Not a single question about how many were martyred.

The widow of the martyr talked to my friend and said, ‘Sab aap samhal lena’ (Please take care of us). My friends doesn’t believe that she will get a government job reserved for the family of  martyrs anytime soon because the officials in her resident state have already started demanding bribe in lakhs. Nevertheless, he promised that he will make sure she gets her dues.

I called up my friend when I received the news, concerned for his health. He was still cracking jokes, claiming it was normal in the line of duty and that duty came first.  And if anything happened ever to him, I should take care of his family.

What does our system give back to our heroes who risk their lives to protect us? They have to fight the enemy from outside as well from inside. The outside enemy is still better. At least they are known.