Hero who returned from jaws of death
Chandimandir Cantt (Haryana), June 17 (Agency) - Hit by a hail of enemy bullets, Lance Naik Shatrughan Singh crawled 10 eerie nights with the maggot-infested wound in his right leg surviving on a handful of boiled rice and snow before being rescued and shifted to a medical facility.
“This is like a second life for me. I cannot forget that May afternoon when my group led by Major Sarvanan was scaling a rocky terrain in batalik sub-sector to capture a post on a dominating ridge occupied by the infiltrators,” Singh, convalescing at the Command Hospital here, recalls keeping aside a bunch of letters that are his only link with his loved ones while he awaits reunion with them.
Lance Naik Singh, who was admitted with his leave certificate, warrant and Rs 35,000 intact in his pocket, says “I was to proceed on leave a day before we were deployed. C.O saab (the commanding officer) asked me if I would not like to serve the cause for which I had joined the Army. There were no second thoughts after that”. “When I was shot at, I felt I would never make it. I asked my colleague to make sure the money reached my family and it should not fall in Pakistani hands,” he says with his eyes moist.
His colleague refused to take the money and leave him there. It is a different story that his friend could not make it back. Singh who lay tight, pretending to be dead after being hit, later found himself as the lone survivor of his group. Elucidating his experience, Singh says, “we came under heavy fire from a group of infiltrators ensconced in bunkers 200 yards over us at 1pm. Pramod who was ahead of me was the first to be hit. Major Sarvanan asked me to ignore the casualty and continue assault. That was the last I heard from the officer.
“Major saab was shot at thrice in the head. Minutes later a bullet pierced my right leg. It was not painful, perhaps because it was so cold at 17,000 feet. But it numbed me and I couldn’t move,” he says.
The Lance Naik was mistaken to be dead both by the infiltrators and the Army authorities who even informed his family of his death.
“I lay motionless for seven hours to avoid being noticed as minutes crawled by like hours. Finally the guns fell silent and I began dragging myself slowly and painfully after tying my wounded foot with shoelaces to the other for support,” the infantryman says.
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