Village grieves for fallen soldier-son
By Rashme Sehgal
NARBAL (Sopore): The grief-stricken villagers here had gathered in full force to receive the body of their brave son lance-naik Ghulam Mohammed Khan of 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (12 JAKLI) on Friday. His young grieving wife Zarina Akhtar and father Sher Wali Khan were distraught on seeing the 23-year old who had died in action in the Kargil sector three days ago.
Earlier in the day, the entire regiment had gathered to pay their last respects when his body was brought in to Srinagar. Following the traditions of the 12 JAKLI, a Muslim, a Sikh and a Hindu priest conducted the last rites for the fallen soldier.
Already, this battle-scarred regiment has suffered 14 casualties including the killing of Capt Amol Kalia. Other casualties have included one JCO, six Muslim jawans and six non-Muslim jawans recruited from different parts of the state.
The 12 JAKLI had completed a six-month stint at Siachen in May and repulsed two major Pakistani attacks during this period. The officers and jawans of this regiment were looking forward to putting in a stint at a peace station when they received marching orders to Kargil.
The regiment has the distinction of having captured and manned the Banda top at 21,153 ft in 1987 which is the highest manned post in the world.
Commadant Singh of 12 JAKLI felt: "We have been totally passive in combating insurgency, doing it on terms that have been set by Pakistan, whereas it should have been tackled on a pro-active basis.''
Nation's third highest wartime gallantry award VIR CHAKRA was awarded to Lance Naik Gulam Mohammed Khan on 15th August 1999.
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