Captain Vikram Batra 21st martyrdom day: Remembering Indian Army’s Kargil War hero

Today (July 7) is the 21st death anniversary of the hero of the 1999 Kargil war, Captain Vikram Batra, who sacrificed his life for India while fighting Pakistani intruders. After the Kargil war, Captain Batra was posthumously honored with Paramveer Chakra, India’s highest military award.

Captain Batra was born on September 9, 1974 in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh and he started his military life on December 6, 1997 with the 13th battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles of Indian Army. Captain Batra was posted in Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh when he was summoned to join the troops in Dras sector of Jammu and Kashmir during Kargil war.

On June 6, Captain Batra reached Dras and was kept on the reserve for the 2nd battalion of Rajputana Rifles by the 56 Mountain Brigade whom he was reporting to. The 2nd battalion of Rajputana Rifles was later tasked to recapture the Tololing mountain ridge from Pakistani intruders. It is a known fact that the fight for Tiger Hill was the fiercest battle in the Kargil war.

On June 20, Captain Batra led his team in the fight for control of the Peak 5140. Captain Batra led from the front and also engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy soldiers and later sent out the message in codeword ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ to inform his seniors that Indian troops had recaptured Peak 5140.

After recapturing Point 5140, Captain Batra was given the target of hoisting the Indian flag at Point 4875vand he embarked on the mission along with other colleagues including Lieutenant Anuj Nayyar and Lieutenant Naveen. On July 7, Batra started the mission to reclaim Point 4875, which is located in Mushkoh Valley. Point 4875 is around 16,000 feet high but Captain Batra moved ahead without worrying about the enemy firing.

The battle to reclaim Point 4875 turned very dangerous as Pakistani intruders kept firing from machine gun. Lt Naveen suffered a bullet injury in his leg and Captain Batra ran to save his partner’s life. Just when Captain Batra was trying to drag Lieutenant Naveen to safety the enemies targeted him and opened fire at him. Captain Batra succeeded in saving himself from the enemy bullets but a stray splinter from a rocket-propelled grenade hit him in the dead and he was martyred immediately.

The Northern Command of Indian Army remembered Captain Batra and Rifleman Samjay Kumar for their bravery in recapturing Point 4875. “21 Years of Kargil Mushkoh Day,when most conspicuous bravery of Captain Vikram Batra, PVC(P) & Rfn Sanjay Kumar, PVC in face of enemy facilitated capture of Pt 4875 by 13 JAK RIF; both awarded PVC,a rare & distinct first in Indian Army history,” tweeted Northern Command of Army.

Captain Vikram Batra was posthumously conferred with the Param Vir Chakra on August 15, 1999 by the then President KR Narayanan. “Captain Vikram Batra displayed the most conspicuous personal bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy and made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army,” his award citation read.