Assam Rifles pays tribute to surviving soldiers of India’s most successful counter-insurgency operation

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Naib Subedar Padam Bahadur Chhetri and 14 others killed 72 extremists, captured 13 others at 14,000ft at J&K on May 5, 1991

Naib Subedar Padam Bahadur Chhetri and 14 others killed 72 extremists, captured 13 others at 14,000ft at J&K on May 5, 1991

GUWAHATI

The paramilitary Assam Rifles on Monday congratulated the surviving soldiers of Operation Dudhi, marked in the country’s defense history as India’s most successful counter-insurgency operation more than 30 years ago.

A team of 15 soldiers from the 7th Battalion of the Assam Rifles led by Naib Subedar Padam Bahadur Chhetri had, on May 5, 1991, shot down 72 extremists trained in Pakistan and captured 13 others at 14,000 feet in Jammu and Kashmir.

Two Assam Rifles soldiers – Riflemen Kameshwar Prasad and Ram Kumar Arya – died in the six-hour shootout, while Rifleman RK Yadav was injured.

“Our Director General, Lt. Gen. PC Nair, met some of the heroes of Op Dudhi on a recent trip to Nepal and thought to congratulate them on their outstanding achievement which has yet to be matched. They were honored at Shillong today [Monday] on the 31st anniversary of Operation Dudhi,” an Assam Rifles spokesperson said.

Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong, is the headquarters of the Assam Rifles, India’s oldest paramilitary force, with operational control under the Ministry of Defense and administrative control under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Since its inception in 1835, the Assam Rifles have been engaged in countless counter-insurgency operations in the northeast and elsewhere in India. But none was as “bold and exemplary” as Operation Dudhi undertaken by the 7th Battalion stationed in Jammu and Kashmir from 1989 to 1992.

A column of 15 members of the 7th Battalion had, on 3 May 1991, left the battalion headquarters at Chowkibal for a routine patrol to check the post at Dudhi, vacated in the winter, and set up an assembly camp at Bari Baihk underway May 4. Located about eight miles from Chowkibal, the camp was covered in five to six feet of snow.

The column began moving towards Dudhi on 5 May, a day after clearing the way to the post.

“Militants who had infiltrated into Indian Territory after crossing the 14,000ft high Eagle Pass began firing at the column as the soldiers were 1km from the post,” the gatekeeper said. -word of Assam Rifles.

The column discovered that there were more than 100 extremists armed with sophisticated weapons. But instead of retreating, the soldiers tactfully surrounded the extremists, shooting down most of them with their 7.62mm self-loading rifles and a solitary light machine gun.

The firefight lasted six hours on the night of May 5-6 until reinforcements arrived in the form of three columns with a medical team. Weapons recovered from killed and captured extremists included 78 AK-47 automatic rifles and seven universal machine guns.

The Assam Rifles used the next 96 hours to carry out search and disinfection operations in the area.

The 7th Battalion had already received many honors and awards during Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir. These included two Kirti chakras, one Shaurya chakra, one Vishisht Seva medal and 10 Sena medals.

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