Rifleman Sanjay Kumar

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17 years of the tragic war at Kargil could not take the painful memories away. They continue to haunt us deep inside. The bloodshed that accompanied the war still makes the families of the martyrs cringe. Then how can the denizens of India ever forget the soldiers who fought with great tenacity for the love of nation?

While many soldiers sacrificed their lives at the war front,only a few managed to survive. Amidst the valiant, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar is the proud recipient of country’s highestgallantry award, Param Vir Chakra. Last year, he was promoted as junior commissioned officer on the post of Naib Subedar.

During the Kargil war, he was with the 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. The 13 JAK Rifles is the only unit in the history of independent India to be awarded two PVCs in a single operation.The initial assault thus failed. In the wee hours of 5 July 1999, the Indian army planned a final attack. It was a defining moment in the career of Rifleman Sanjay Kapur when he was asked to lead the attack.

He took the golden opportunity to serve his nation and charged at the enemy bunkers, killing several intruders. After destroying the first bunker, he ran out of ammunition and was hit by two bullets in his thigh. But he didn’t give up easily. He wentahead and snatched a machine gun from a Pakistani solider. Subsequently, he captured the second bunker too. His bravery resulted in the successful accomplishment of the mission.

The unit recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition too.Very few people know that before selection into Army in1996, Sanjay Kapur, who is a native of Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh, used to drive a taxi on the jampacked roads of Delhi to earn a livelihood. He was selected by the Indian Army on 4 June 1996 after being rejected twice earlier. Now, his second brother is a sepoy too.

Sanjay was only 23 when he was awarded the PVC, an honour bestowed only on 21 soldiers
since 1950.

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