“This Diwali, we thought of his comrades-in-arms, who suffer harsh climes and the enemy from across the border, as well as some within."
For the 41 Rashtriya Rifles jawans who brave arduous terrain to guard the Line of Control in Kashmir, Diwali turned extra special.
All thanks to the classmates of martyred Colonel Santosh Mahadik, the late Commanding Officer of the unit.
Col Mahadik became a national hero after he was critically injured in a fierce gun battle with infiltrators during an operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara, Jammu & Kashmir, in November 2015.
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The brave soldier, who succumbed to his wounds in the hospital, was awarded a Sena Medal for gallantry during Operation Rhino in the Northeast in 2003. The slain soldier’s widow, Swati, honoured his sacrifice for the country after being commissioned in the Army as a lieutenant in 2017.
In his memory, his classmates from Sainik School in Satara, sent the soldiers in his 41 Rashtriya Rifles unit, 250 kg of sweets.
According to a report in The Hindu, this is not the first time that the Sainik School alumni made the heartwarming gesture.
The mithai boxes, weighing over 250 kg, landed at Srinagar airport from Chandigarh, and reached the 41 Rashtriya Rifles on Wednesday, for distribution among the soldiers.
“This Diwali, we thought of his comrades-in-arms, who suffer harsh climes and the enemy from across the border, as well as some within. We thought this would be a nice gesture for soldiers who spend Diwali away from their families,” one of his classmates, who is a part of the initiative, told The Hindu.
And even though the batch graduated from the Sainik School over 24 years ago, this Diwali marked the third year when they executed ‘Operation Diwali’, as they refer to the sweet gesture.
Our salute for the uniformed jawans who sacrifice their Diwali so that we can celebrate ours. Also hats off to Col Mahadik’s classmates who are doing their bit to make the soldiers feel a little at home, even in the remotest of postings.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
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