Arun Shridhar Vaidya
|General Arun Shridhar Vaidya|
|Born||27 January 1926
|Died||10 August 1986
|Years of service||1945 to 31 January 1986|
In 1965, the then Lieutenant Colonel Vaidya was in command of the Deccan Horse. During the time he was instrumental in saving the Command Trucks and fleeing Divisional Headquarters through his tanks through an encirclement by Pakistan Army's 6th Armoured Division at the Battle of Chawinda which resulted in destruction of Pakistan's 1st Armoured Division and heavy loss of Pakistani lives. For this he was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra.
During the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict, the then Brigadier Vaidya was commander of an armored brigade in the Zafarwal sector on the western front. In the battle of Chakra and Dahira, the hostile terrain was combined with minefields. He crossed through the minefield and moved forward. Thus the entire squadron was able to push through the lane and quickly deploy itself to meet the Pakistan Army's counter-attacks.
During the Battle of Basantar or Battle of Barapind in the same conflict, Brigadier Vaidya displayed skill and leadership in getting his tanks through deep minefields. For this he was awarded a second Maha Vir Chakra (known as the Bar to MVC).
On 31 July 1983 General Vaidya became the 13th Chief Of Army Staff of the Indian Army . In 1984, he planned Operation Blue Star to evict Sikh militants hidden in Golden temple.
He retired on 31 January 1986 as India's most decorated soldier. He had completed over 40 years of service.
Operation Blue Star
In 1984, General Vaidya designed and supervised Operation Blue Star - a military operation ordered by Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, against Sikhs commanded by Shabeg Singh (AVSM and PVSM) under Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Chief of Damdami Taksal, in June 1984 at the Golden Temple complex.
General Vaidya retired and took residence in Pune, India. On 10 August 1986 he was shot to death while driving his car home from the market. According to the police, the assailants pulled up next to his car on motor scooters and fired eight or nine shots into the car. Vaidya reportedly died instantly of head and neck wounds. His bodyguard, who was also in the car, was wounded by four bullets in his back and thighs.
According to Indian intelligence sources, Vaidya had been the number four assassination target on lists of Punjabi insurgents and he was one of several people killed in retaliation for Operation Blue Star.
Following the assassination, the Khalistan Commando Force issued a statement declaring that Vaidya had been killed in retaliation for the Golden Temple operation. In 1989, Sukhdev Singh Sukha and Harjinder Singh Jinda were sentenced to death for the killing. Despite admitting to the killing, they pled not-guilty, justifying their actions by stating that Vaidya was "guilty of a serious crime, the punishment for which could only be death". The two were executed on 9 October 1992, and the third, Ujagar Singh, received clemency.
Awards and recognition
- Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) in 1965 - for distinctive service in the Indo-Pak war
- Bar to Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) in 1971 - for service in the Indo-Pak war
- Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM)
- Padma Vibhushan Posthumous
- "General Arunkumar Sridhar Vaidya". Bharat-Rakshak.com.
- "IN BRIEF; Indian General Who Raided Temple Is Slain". The New York Times. 17 August 1986.
- "Operation Bluestar, 20 Years On". Rediff.com.
- Associated Press. "Shrine Leader Killed in Ambush", The Dallas Morning News, 11 August 1986.
- Weisman, Steven R. "A Top Indian General is Assassinated", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11 August 1986.
- Sun-Times Wires. "Sikhs kill ex-army chief, massacre revenge hinted", Chicago Sun-Times, 11 August 1986.
- Associated Press. "General cremated; Sikhs admit to killing", c/o Houston Chronicle, 11 August 1986.
- "The Vaidya Murder Case: Confirming Death Sentences", India Abroad. (New York edition). New York, N.Y.: 24 July 1992. Vol.XXII, Issue. 43; pg.20.
Kotikalapudi Venkata Krishna Rao
|Chief of Army Staff