Hubli: “Injured soldiers asked us not to look back and move on as they took their last breath. We just crossed them over because duty was important,” shared Shivareddi B Jagapur of Nagavi village in Gadag district, who was injured during Kargil war and is now serving in New Delhi. As the nation observes Kargil Day on Thursday to mark India’s victory over Pakistan during the 1999 war, Express spoke to Jagapur who recollected his experience.
“As our battalion (171 of Border Security Force) had previously protected the border from 1994 to 1997, we were instructed to leave from Kolkota in the first week of May in 1999. I called my parents and insisted that they stop my marriage preparations. When we reached Kargil, it was already possessed by enemies. Only 130 of us, led by Deputy Commandant Sukhbeer Singh Yadav, were sent to Kargil to take defence charge on May 10. We had been walking for a week at Shainegunda battalion headquarter and only those, who were fit for border weather, were selected for combat operations. Fortunately I was also one of them,” he said.
Recalling the day Jagapur lost one of his commarade, he said on May 25, the troop started moving towards Patthar post in the border as opponents started shelling the area. “The next day, while the nation enjoyed a cricket match between India and Sri Lanka, a bomb ripped up D C Yadav’s body, who was like a parent-figure for us. He was coming to see us. Other soldiers later told me that the last 25 minutes of his life he asked for our names and advised us us to continue the task with a brave heart,” he recalled.
Jagapur was deployed at Chesma post on May 27, at Alpa Takri post on May 28, Punjab Takri post on May 29 and 30. “We saw many soldiers suffering from injuries, yet encouraging us to move ahead. We had no time to even cry. And songs such as ‘Mere vatan ke logo’ flooded our mind and that were like glucose and oxygen for us. We spent the whole of June in tension at Forward Diference Line. We were feeling like we were surrounded by death. My colleague Ghanashyam, from Maharashtra, was seriously wounded by pieces of bombs on July 12. His nose was completely damaged.”
Recounting the day Jagapur got injured he said: “On July 22, there was massive attack from the Pakistan side and some pieces of bullets entered into my thigh. I was admitted to Shainegunda BSF hospital. After X-ray reports confirmed bullet pieces in my thigh, I was shifted to Srinagar Hospital on August 6. As normalcy had prevailed in the border by the time I recovered, we were allowed to return to our villages.”
“My parents were unaware about my whereabouts from May 10 to August 10. When I reached home, I was told that my mother was praying and I believe such prayers brought India victory,” he said.