Randhir Singh Kaliramna

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Martyr Subedar Randhir Singh (Kaliramna) , Vir Chakra , (b. 15 July 1955, d. 3 June 1999) of Balkara village near Charkhi Dadri, Bhiwani district in Haryana, won the Vir Chakra award in Kargil war. His father's name is Sh Sri Chand. A middle school is named Martyr Subedar Randhir Singh middle school Balkara. He was in 18 Grenadier Regiment. He was born in a Hindu Jat family of Kaliramna gotra.

In Kargil war

Map of Kargil War areas

In the early days of May 1999, after patrols sent in the mountains disappeared indicating something was amiss, the 18th Grenadiers was pulled from the counter insurgency grid in the Valley and ordered to evict the intruders. The initial briefing by the commander of Kargil based 121 Brigade was that there were no more than 8 – 10 infiltrators on the tops. " Just go up and bring them by the scruff of the neck " was the casual order. Tololing, a naked mountain, loomed large rising to 16000 feet, overlooking the town of Drass. With no cover a single steep track led to the top zig zagging along a narrow path. There was absolutely no cover for climbing troops. From their concrete bunkers and reinforced sangars the Pakistanis could see every inch of the track. There was nothing to hide behind but the faith of God.From this vantage point, the Pakistanis brought in heavy artillery fire on the National Highway NH 1A which was closest at this point. This brought movement on the highway to a standstill. It became imperative that Tololing had to be cleared first to reduce the threat to the highway and also to provide a foothold to recover the surrounding peaks.

Three battalions from the Nagas, Garhwal and Grenadier regiments tried to make their way from 2 sides but came under effective fire. The Pakistanis were entrenched all across the ridges in bunkers fortified with iron girders and corrugated sheets. The first 3 assaults were beaten off. The soldiers crawled up inch by inch along the steep incline with the wind howling around them and temperatures between –5 and –11 degrees Centigrade. The soldiers had to climb 16,000 feet with packs upto 25 kgs. In such situations where every kilogram counted a 2 kg food pack was discarded for more ammunition. Unfortunately the trade off did not work. The Pakistanis simply mowed them down. At times they did not even waste their ammunition preferring to throw stones and roll down boulders. The Nagas were the victim of such tactics. The men with just a single parka, jungle shoes, with rifles slung were climbing up with the help of a rope when rocks were rolled down crushing some troops. With no headway being made B company of 18th Grenadiers led by 28 year old Major Rajesh Adhikari made another frantic assault. Although two previous assaults had been repulsed, Adhikari succeeded in reaching a point beyond the Hump. The brilliance of his attack carried him to 15 meters of the ridgeline. At that point he and his men found themselves surrounded and outnumbered. A bitter close combat battle raged in which Adhikari along with Subedar Randhir Singh, Lance Naik R K Yadav and grenadier Parveen Kumar were killed. The rest were pushed back. Captain Sachin Nimbalkar and his men were stuck behind large rock on a tiny ledge on a sheer cliff face for 3 days.

By now company and battalion commanders had realised the gravity of the situation and were trying to convince their superiors who in turn were trying to convince Delhi. This pressure caused another attack to be mounted on June 2. Unable to convince his superiors of the need to delay till adequate firepower was provided the second in command of the 18th Grenadiers Lt. Col. Vishwanathan personally led the attack. With Regimental pride under stake the men reached the top after an arduous 6 hour climb. If they chose to recover before attacking dawn would be on them so they made the choice of an immediate attack. It was a suicidal attack and was promptly cut down. Lt. Col. Vishwanathan knew he was going to die. His last letter to his father indicated his anguish at not being able to live to his family commitments. There was shock and gloom all around. Furthermore the bodies of Adhikari and his wireless operator were still lying in the battlefield. Any attempt to recover it was met with UMG fire. Furthermore the Pakistanis booby-trapped the bodies. One jawan who tried to drag Adhikari’s body away lost his hand to a booby trap. Lt. Col. Vishwanathan‘s death finally jarred the senior echelons of the Indian Army. Finally the army was realizing the need to get in more firepower before any assault could be made.

With the Pakistanis watching the highway from Peak 4875 in the Mushkoh Valley, Tiger Hill and Tololing Top the deployment was done after sundown. At the Gumri and Matayin bases guns from the plains were brought in, still in desert camouflage. After sundown powerful Scania trucks pulled them to predetermined gun positions. The trucks moved with their lights switched off. 2 soldiers jogged in the front flashing their torches every few minutes to show the outlines of the road and the curves so that they wouldn’t run off the mountainside.

The gun sights were carved out of the mountain side. They had to be sited not only to provide accurate fire but also to avoid counter battery fire. By 7th June the guns were deployed and fired to get the range. Artillery observation officers started climbing to vantage positions to direct the fire. As the H hour to launch the attack approached soldiers worked in the bitter cold to make sure all guns were in perfect condition. Soldiers stood guard with rumors of SSG troops on artillery raiding missions. Anti aircraft guns scanned the skies for any RPV on spotting missions. Meanwhile para commandos had moved through the enemy lines and lined up on enemy artillery. Their job was to direct counter battery fire in case any Pakistani guns got in the play.

Simultaneously a fresh battalion the 2nd Rajputana Rifles was brought in for the assault. The Grenadiers consolidated at 3 points 300 metres below the Pakistani positions thus providing a foothold to launch the attack from. The 2nd Raputana Rifles meanwhile fired and tested weapons, carried on reconnaisance and mock assaults on nearby ridges. 90 volunteers led by Major Vivek Gupta were assembled for the final assault. Among them were 11 Tomars.

Vishwanth was a Lt Col in Kargil when he led the attack Subedar Randhir Singh told the his Lt Col that on the top of the Tiger Hill there is a heavy build up of Pakistanis and we have only few Jawans- wait for more help. Lt Col Viswanathan said being a brave Jat are you afraid of Paki?

Subedar Randhir Singh said - I am not afraid but the brave Col sahib you lead us. We will follow you. The Lt Col Viswanathan led the attack and was killed in action. Subedar Randhir Singh took over the command and won the tiger hill, but at the cost of his life. He was killed in this action. Subedar Randhirsingh got Virchakara. Vishwanath and Sub Randhir Singh died a hero's death. Maha Vir Chakra honored another brave soldier Major Balwan Singh of this ‘Paltan’.

Subedar Randhir Singh, Lance Naik R K Yadav and Grenadier Parveen Kumar were other soldiers who had laid down their lives alongwith Major Adhikari.

His family

His son Dilbag Singh Kalher was also in same Regiment. He got discharge from army to look after the family. Randhir Singh’s wife died due to cancer. He has unmarried daughter and son. His son Dilbag Singh now has Martyrs Subedar Randhir Singh petrol pump Rohtak (Veer Chakra Vijeta Saheed Randhir Filling Station Near Sukhpura Chowk Rohtak.)

Honour

Subedar Randhir was consigned to flames at his native village Balkara in Dadri sub-division of Bhiwani district on 16 June 1999. When his younger son Rajpal lit the pyre, people shouted slogans like "Bharat mata ki jai, shahid Randhir Singh amar rahe."

Subedar Randhir sacrificed his life on June 3 while fighting in Drass area. When Subedar Randhir Body was brought at Balkara, a large number of villagers turned up to their last homage. He was cremated with full Military honours.[1]

Subedar Randhir Singh of 18 Grenadiers of the Army sacrificed his life on the night of June 2 and while fighting the Pakistani infiltrators in the Dras area. [2]

Before the cremation, Prof Chatter Singh Chauhan, Speaker, Haryana Assembly, placed wreaths on the body on behalf of the Haryana Government. Besides him those who paid homage to the martyr were Mr Surender Singh, former MP, Mr K.C. Yadav, Deputy Commissioner, Bhiwani, Mr S.S. Deswal, SP, Bhiwani, Mr Satpal Sangwan, MLA, Mr Nripender Singh, MLA and Maj V.N. Sharma of 33 Armed Division.[3]

Reference

  1. Indian Express 17 June 1999
  2. The Tribune, Thursday, June 17, 1999
  3. The Tribune, Thursday, June 17, 1999

External links


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