While we were glued to the TV screens and flipping through pages of newspapers full of debates over the Jawaharlal Nehru University ‘anti-national’ row, the Indian armed forces finally managed to bring the bodies of the nine remaining soldiers who died at Siachen with Hanumanthappa to New Delhi.
The mortal remains were flown to their respective native places after a ceremony held in their memory at the national capital.
On Monday, the armed forces had succeeded in airlifting the bodies from Siachen following days of inclement weather that hampered such an operation.
PM Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, senior army officials and other dignitaries paid homage to the bravehearts at the Delhi Airport.
Also present were senior officers of the armed forces including General Dalbir Singh, who interacted with the pallbearers of 19 Madras.
But while the media covered Hanumanthappa’s miraculous story of survival and his subsequent death, there was no such coverage for the nine.
The nine soldiers who would laid to rest at their native places starting today are Subedar Nagesh TT, Havildar Elumalai M, Lance Havildar S Kumar, Lance Naik Sudheesh B, Sepoy S Mustaq Ahmed, Sepoy Ganesan G, Sepoy Mahesha PN, Sepoy Rama Moorthy N, and Sepoy Suryavanshi SV.
The media is too busy to cover in detail about the soldiers because of their preoccupation with JNU, so here’s something about each of those nine soldiers you should know.
1. Subedar Nagesh TT, affectionately called ‘Rambo’ by his brothers-in-arms, had served as a Commando in NSG for three years. He had become a JCO in just 16 years of service.
2. Havildar Elumalai M, a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO), had been part of several successful small team operations against terrorists in both Jammu & Kashmir and North East during his nine years of field service.
3. Lance Havildar S Kumar had a rare distinction of serving in the Siachen Glacier twice: in 1999-2000 and in the present tenure. He participated in Operation Parakram, fought militancy in Counter Insurgency Operations at Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.
4. Lance Naik Sudheesh B had served in Jammu & Kashmir in Operation Rakshak and fought insurgency as part of the intelligence gathering team of the Unit. A good sportsman, Sudheesh B was called ‘All in One’ because he could pull off any task without supervision.
5. Sepoy S Mustaq Ahmed was a 30-year old soldier from Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. He was the Battalion counter militancy team at North East and in Jammu & Kashmir. It was on August 15 last year that he volunteered to be inducted in the Siachen Glacier. He leaves behind his wife and parents.
6. Sepoy Ganesan G served in the Counter Insurgency Operations in both Jammu and Kashmir and in the North East in his career spanning over six years. He was the youngest to be chosen on August 15 to guard the Sonam Post at Siachen.
7. Sepoy Mahesha PN served in Operation Rhino where he was actively involved in counter insurgency operations. An avid mountaineer, Sepoy Mahesha was a sharp shooter of the Battalion and was part at the Battalion Firing Team which won many competitions.
8. Sepoy Rama Moorthy N was another soldier involved in Operation Rhino and was part of the Quick Reaction Team of the Company which had several successful operations. He was recently married to Mrs Sunita.
9. Sepoy Suryavanshi SV was a Nursing Assistant and the youngest of the 10. Born on May 25, 1991 at in Satara, Maharashtra, Suryavanshi joined the Indian Army, and was selected as a Nursing Assistant in Army Medical Corps in Sep 2010. He managed the responsibility of the Medical Inspection Rooms located in various difficult areas of Operation Meghdoot from Oct 2015 onwards.
Even the social media is busy haranguing over who the real nationalist in this country is and, therefore, has no time to tweet in the memory of the nine.