I begin this article with a salute to two bravehearts: Constable Ajay Singh Pathania, who hails from Pathankot in Punjab, and Constable Roop Singh of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh. They laid down their lives while preventing an explosive-laden vehicle from entering the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008.
In a vicious attack, a suicide car bomb hit the Indian embassy in Kabul, killing 41 people and injuring 139. However, it was the quick action taken by these two Indo-Tibetan Border Police constables that saved the lives of many more within the building.
In a report published by The Indian Express, an official with the Home Ministry, said, “Pathania and Singh displayed extreme courage and valour, dedication and devotion to duty, motivation and determination, averted a major disaster inside the Indian Embassy at Kabul and gave the supreme sacrifice protecting the honour and sovereignty of the nation for which they were honoured with Kirti Chakra posthumously.”
Here’s how they saved the day
On the morning of July 7, 2008, Roop Singh was manning the barrier of the embassy’s main gate while Ajay Singh was on sentry duty. Around 8.30 a.m., a Land Rover vehicle carrying the defence attaché Brigadier R D Mehta and Counsellor V Venkatashwara Rao approached the gate.
Finding a white Toyota Corolla follow this official vehicle raised suspicion in Ajay Singh’s mind and he immediately alerted Roop Singh to keep the anti-bomb hexa-barrier shut.
Roop Singh was also quick to react and did not lift the barrier. The Toyota Corolla rammed into the Land Rover resulting in a huge explosion, causing the immediate death of the defence attache and the senior diplomat.
It was their quick thinking that prevented this suicide car bomb from killing many more who were within the embassy complex.
Recognising their heroic effort in saving the day, the government has decided to award both these men with the Kirti Chakra, posthumously.
The Kirti Chakra is the country’s military award for valour, courageous action and self-sacrifice. It is second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards after the Ashoka Chakra.
The Better India salutes these brave men who have shown us that service is indeed above self. Jai Hind!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)