On 18 September 2016, the Indian Army brigade headquarters near the Line of Control in Uri, in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, came under the attack of four Pakistani terrorists. The attack took place in the wake of the civil unrest in Kashmir following the killing of Burhan Wani by the Indian army in July 2016. The curfew that was imposed after that was only lifted on August 31. 17 Indian Army soldiers perished and about 30 were injured in this deadly attack carried out in the wee hours of the morning.
The Kalashnikov-wielding terrorists launched grenades and opened fire on the Army camp. One of them bolted the doors of the cook-house and storeroom from the outside and set it on fire. Those trapped inside had no way of escaping, which is one of the reasons for the high death toll.
15 out of the 17 Indian army soldiers killed in Kashmir belonged to the Bihar Regiment of the Indian army. The two others are from the Dogra Regiment. The Bihar Regiment began as one of the sepoy battalions raised by the British East India Company in 1757. They were also the one who led the Revolt of 1857. Present-day Bihar Regiment recruits from Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. The Dogra Regiment recruits from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and parts of Punjab.
It was only last week, when the US marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11, that we compiled an article about the worst terror attacks that happened on Indian soil. In it we reflected on how quick we are to forget the attacks and those who lost their lives. So, let’s take a moment to remember the 17 soldiers who put down their lives in the line of duty. This includes ten sepoys, two lance naiks, one naik, three havildars, and one subedar.
Ranks explained: A soldier in the Indian army is given the rank Sepoy. Soldiers who get promoted to positions of responsibility become Non-Commissioned Officers, starting with Lance Naik. Then comes Naik. Havildar is the highest rank among NCOs. Among the Junior Commissioned Officers, a Subedar occupies the second-highest rank, below Subedar Major.
#1. Subedar Karnail Singh
From Shibu Chak, Teh- Bishnah, Jammu District, Jammu & Kashmir. Belonged to 10 Dogra Regiment.
#2. Havildar Ravi Paul
From Samba, Jammu d1istrict, Jammu & Kashmir. Belonged to 10 Dogra Regiment.
#3. Sepoy Rakesh K. R. Singh
From Baddja village, Kaimur district, Bihar. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#4. Sepoy Javra Munda
From Meral village, Khuti district, Jharkhand. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#5. Sepoy Naiman Kujur
From Gumla village, Chainpur, Jharkhan. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#6. Sepoy Uike Janrao
From Nandgaon village, Amravati district, Maharashtra. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#7. Havildar NS Rawat
From Rajawa village, Rajasmand district, Rajasthan. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#8. Sepoy Ganesh Shankar
From Ghoorapalli village, Sant Kabir district, Uttar Pradesh. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#9. Naik S. K. Vidarthi
From Boknari village, Gaya district, Bihar. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#10. Sepoy Biswajit Ghorai
From Ganga Sagar village, South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#11. Lance Naik G. Shankar
From Jashi village, Satar district, Maharashtra. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#12. Sepoy G. Dalai
From Jamuna Balia, Howarah district, West Bengal. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#13. Lance Naik R. K. Yadav
From Balia village, Uttar Pradesh. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#14. Sepoy Harinder Yadav
From Ghazipur village, Ghazipur district, Uttar Pradesh. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#15. Sepoy T. S. Somnath
From Khadangali village, Nashik district, Maharashtra. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#16. Havildar Ashok Kumar Singh
From Raktu Tola village, Bhojpur district, Bihar. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
#17. Sepoy Rajesh K. R. Singh
From Jaunpur village, Uttar Pradesh. Belonged to 6 Bihar Regiment.
The hashtag #UriAttacks trended on Twitter on the day of the attacks. News headlines the next day proclaimed that Twitterati expressed their rage and urged India to give a “befitting reply” to Pakistan. #bombpakistan was trending on Twitter yesterday, as was #Brangelina, a reference to the Hollywood power couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s marriage heading towards divorce.
Here’s the sad part: As a young writer taking on this assignment, it was easier for me to look up when Brad and Angelina began dating and got married, but not when any of the soldiers was born or joined the Indian Army. The news media seem to care more about sensational headlines, unique online visitors, and television rating points than in-depth reporting. Let’s mourn the fall of journalistic standards too as we remember the martyrs.
Featured image courtesy of L. C. Nottaasen