2016 began with the terrible news of a terror attack at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot. While we still don’t have news of its conclusion, seven Indians defence personnel have already died in the attack.
These are the heroes who laid down their lives to protect ours:
1. Lt. Col. Niranjan — National Security Guard
A member of NSG’s Bomb Disposal Squad, the 35-year-old commando was killed while defusing a grenade at the scene of the attack. Born in Bangalore, he used to frequently visit his home state of Kerala. He was married in his village in Palakkad district three years ago. He is survived by his wife Radhika and 2-year-old daughter.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh mourned his death on Twitter:
Pained to know about the demise of Lt. Col. Niranjan of NSG during mopping out operations at Pathankot. The nation salutes his sacrifice
— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) January 3, 2016
2. Subedar Fateh Singh — Defence Security Corps
The 51-year-old member of the army had won India gold and silver medals at the international level during the Commonwealth Games and was well known as a champion shooter.
“He was a thorough gentlemen and great athlete. He worked as an active member of Indian shooting team. It is a very sad day for us. He sacrificed his life for the country. I condole his death,” National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh said.
3. Corporal Gursewak Singh — Garud Commando Force
Singh was from Ambala. Hit during the initial round of gunfire, he continued to fight but died before medical help arrived. He was married a mere 45 days ago. He joined the army six years ago after completing his graduation. His father Sucha Singh, a farmer, described him as an intelligent and bright young man who passed the Air Force entrance exam in his first attempt. Even though his family is deeply shocked to learn of his death, his father has said that he is proud that his son gave his life for his country.
4. Hawaldar Kulwant Singh — Defence Security Corps
Singh was a resident of Gurdaspur.
5. Hawaldar Sanjeevan Singh Rana — Defence Security Corps
The 51-year-old Rana was from Siyunh village in Himachal Pradesh. He is survived by his wife Pinky Devi, two daughters, and a son. Rana, the sole breadwinner of his family, died after five bullets hit him in the chest when terrorists entered the air force base. His father, Rattan Rana, had served in the army before him.
6. Hawaldar Jagdish Chand — Defence Security Corps
From Chamba district, also in Himachal Pradesh, Chand was transferred from Leh to Pathankot a few months ago. He was in his village — Gola — on a 10-day leave; he had returned to Pathankot only a day before the attack. Chand, a cook at the base, was in the kitchen when the terrorists entered; he wrestled a rifle from the attacker and killed him with the terrorist’s own weapon. He was caught in a hail of enemy fire and succumbed to his injuries. He is survived by his wife, a son, and two daughters.
7. Hawaldar Mohit Chand
Attacked at the base by terrorists, Chand passed away in the hospital.
Taxi driver Ikagar Singh was also killed during the attack. Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal visited his house and met his family. He announced a financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh for Singh’s family, a government job for Ikagar’s wife, and pension for his parents. Badal said that Ikagar was a national martyr who laid down his life for the country.
“Ikagar Singh fought like a soldier… He damaged his own car to disrupt their plan… which saved the lives of many people,” Bhagwal village sarpanch Amardeep Singh said to The Indian Express.