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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Havildar Hangpan Dada honoured with Ashok Chakra posthumously-The Ashok Chakra is India's highest peacetime military decoration for valour, courageous action or self sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra. Late Hav Hangpan Dada (4 Assam) has been conferred Ashok Chakra on Independence Day 2016. A brief write-up of our hero, an inspiring soldier and legend, follows.


Havildar Hangpan Dada honoured with Ashok Chakra posthumously (File photo via Twitter) NEW DELHI: It was sheer grit and determination displayed by Havildar Hangpan Dada+ , who killed four intruding terrorists before laying down his life at the height of 13,000 feet in the harsh and icy Himalayan range of North Kashmir, that won him the Ashok Chakra. He was honoured posthumously, with the government announcing the highest award to an army man during peace-time operations+ on Sunday on the eve of the Independence Day. 36-year-old Dada, who laid down his life for the country on May 27 this year, valiantly fought in the treacherous Shamsabari range in North Kashmir eliminating four heavily-armed terrorists who had infiltrated into North Kashmir+ from Pak-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Hailing from Boduria village in far-flung Arunachal Pradesh, the Havildar, who was popularly known as 'Dada' among his team, was posted at the high mountain range since late last year. Enrolled in the Assam Regiment of the Army in 1997, Dada was posted with the 35 Rashtriya Rifles, a force carved out for counter-insurgency operations. In the last week of May, he along with his team spotted the movement of terrorists in the area and lost no time in engaging them in a fierce encounter that went on for over 24 hours. Taking the enemy head-on, he charged at the spot where terrorists were holed up and killed two terrorists on the spot and later the third one after a hand-to-hand scuffle as they slid down the hill towards the Line of Control. Dada was badly injured in the encounter as the terrorists who crossed over from PoK had a slight height advantage. He displayed raw courage, unflinching grit, presence of mind and with utter disregard to his personal safety and despite bleeding profusely, discharged his duties and made supreme sacrifice for the nation. The presence of mind of Dada, who is survived by his wife Chasen Lowang, 10-year-old daughter Roukhin and six-year-old son Senwang, saved the lives of his team members who came under heavy fire from the terrorists The Ashok Chakra is India's highest peacetime military decoration for valour, courageous action or self sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra. Late Hav Hangpan Dada (4 Assam) has been conferred Ashok Chakra on Independence Day 2016. A brief write-up of our hero, an inspiring soldier and legend, follows. There are many who fail to make a mark in entire life and then there are few who make it in one go only. Havaldar Hangpan Dada was one amongst those few. Such was the irresistible aura of this brave soldier that world according to his comrades, seemed to revolve around him. From leading a patrol to leading a church service, Dada always led from the front. Born in Village Borduria, Tirap District Arunanchal Pradesh on 02 Oct 1979, Dada, as he was fondly called by his comrades, got recruited in the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment on 28 Oct 1997. Six years hence, Dada was transferred to ASSAM Regimental Centre and on 24 Jan 2008 he was taken on strength of 4th Battalion The Assam Regiment where he served most. Dada's personality had many shades. Out of the many adjectives often attributed with his name, fearlessness and righteousness encompassed almost the entire spectrum of his personality. During testing times, when threat of the militants would loom large, Dada would silently slip into the role of scout and lead the entire patrol safely back to the base. Few can forget the incident when Dada was evacuated in helicopter after bitten not once but twice by a snake while playing with him. Not just only on ground, Dada had the courage of conviction of calling a spade, A Spade and voicing politely what he thought was right. Dada always used to present a cheerful demeanor. His mere presence was a morale booster. He had that unique ability to raise up and perform when the chips were down. As the adhoc pastor of his outpost, his sunday sermons were heavily subscribed. He feared God and was the voice of wisdom amongst his folks. He showed the way in travelling an extra mile to help his mates. Few can forget how well he took care of his ailing cousin while the unit was deployed in Lucknow and yet discharged all his duties with perfection. He was an epitome of a Humane Soldier, we often talk about. But all knew, behind his trademark smile, was a resolve tougher than steel, and an unflinching attitude which came to fore on the night of 26 May 2016 when Hav Hangpan Dada, as Sabu Post Commander of 35 Rashtriya Rifles, while establishing a stop alongwith his Section at 12500 feets led a charge on hiding terrorists in Naugam, J&K resulting in neutralisation of four heavily armed terrorists. His gallant action of eliminating three terrorists in close quarter engagement and injuring fourth one in utter disregard to personal safety not only foiled the infiltration bid but also ensured the safety of his section. While engaged in fierce gun battle with the third terrorist, Dada sustained a sudden burst of automatic fire from the hiding fourth terrorist. Undeterred by the gun shot wound, Dada continued to pin down the fourth terrorist and later succumbed to his injuries before wounding the terrorist badly. Dada lived whole life on his terms. Whether it was getting recruited in Special Forces or volunteering out for a tenure in Rashtriya Rifles, he lived with his head held high. In death as in life he stood for the righteous path, leading his comrades on his terms. This supreme sacrifice by Dada, is yet another example of the unflinching love and dedication that people of North East possess for their motherland. The dead body of the martyr was brought to Khonsa by a special IAF Helicopter where last rites were conducted amidst prayers and full military honours. The ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries which included CM of Arunanchal Pradesh. The gallant soldier is survived by his wife Mrs Chasen Lowang Dada, Govt employee in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and two children aged 7 and 11 years who would bear the loss of their father with their head held high.

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