Kathmandu: A Nepali soldier who laid down his life to fight terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir was honoured with a gallantry award on the occasion of India’s 57th Republic Day Thursday.
Gorkha officer Subedar Jagat Bahadur Ghale was posthumously awarded the Kirti Chakra, India’s second-highest civilian defence gallantry award after the Ashok Chakra.
The valiant soldier was the only recipient of the Kirti Chakra this year. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Ghale, who served with the sixth battalion of the Indian Army’s 5th Gorkha Rifles Frontier Force, had completed 25 years in service.
He was awarded the honour for exemplary courage during a night battle in October 2004 along the Line of Control that divides Indian and Pakistani Kashmir.
He was the senior-most officer leading a team of six soldiers deployed to apprehend six militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba who were planning to infiltrate into India from Pakistan.
Ghale planned an ambush for the infiltrators near the Poonch river in Poonch district but the plan went awry when the terrorists changed their route.
A quick-thinking Ghale then split his team, taking three soldiers with him to intercept the militants.
When the Lashkar men moved in, Ghale opened fire, killing three on the spot. However, the other three escaped, running towards the second team.
To warn the soldiers, Ghale ran towards them and, on spotting the fugitives, lobbed a grenade at them. Though two militants were injured, Ghale unfortunately was spotted by a militant post on the Pakistan side and shot dead.
27 Jan 2006 # IANS