Sanjay Kumar (soldier)

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Sanjay Kumar

Sanjay Kumar PVC.jpg
then-Havildar Sanjay Kumar, wearing his PVC medal.
Born (1976-03-03) 3 March 1976 (age 43)
Kalol Bakain, Bilaspur district, Himachal Pradesh, India
AllegianceRepublic of India
Service/branchIndian Army
RankSubedar
Service number13760533
Unit13 JAK RIF
Battles/warsKargil War
AwardsParam Vir Chakra

Subedar[1][2] Sanjay Kumar, PVC (born 3 March 1976[3]) is an Indian Army soldier, a Junior Commissioned Officer and recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military award.[4]

Early life[edit]

Sanjay Kumar was born in the village Kalol Bakain in Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh. Prior to joining the army, he worked as a taxi driver in New Delhi.[5] His application was rejected three times before he was finally selected to join the army.

Military career[edit]

On 4 July 1999, as a member of the 13th Battalion, Jammu & Kashmir Rifles, he was the leading scout of a team tasked to capturing Area Flat Top, during the Kargil War. The area was held by Pakistani troops. Having scaled the cliff, the team was pinned down by machine gun fire from an enemy bunker, about 150 meters away.

Kumar, realizing the magnitude of the problem and the detrimental effect this bunker would have in the capture of Area Flat Top, crawled alone up the ledge, along a flank, and charged towards the enemy bunker through a hail of automatic fire. Almost instantly he took two bullets in his chest and forearm that left him bleeding profusely.

Though bleeding from the bullet wounds, he continued the charge towards the bunker. In hand-to-hand fighting, he killed three enemy soldiers. He then picked up an enemy machine gun and crept towards the second enemy bunker. The enemy soldiers, taken completely by surprise, were killed by him as they fled their post. Inspired by his act the rest of the platoon charged, assaulted the feature and captured Area Flat Top.

Param Vir Chakra[edit]

The Param Vir Chakra citation on the Official Indian Army Website reads as follows:

Rifleman Sanjay Kumar volunteered to be the leading scout of the attacking column tasked to capture area Flat Top of Point 4875 in the Mushkoh Valley on 4 July 1999. During the attack when enemy automatic fire from one of the sangars posed stiff opposition and stalled the column, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar realizing the gravity of the situation and with utter disregard to his personal safety, charged at the enemy. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, he killed three of the intruders and was himself seriously injured. Despite his injuries, he charged onto the second sangar. Taken totally by surprise, the enemy left behind a Universal Machine Gun and started running.

Rifleman Sanjay Kumar picked up the UMG and killed the fleeing enemy. Although bleeding profusely, he refused to be evacuated. The brave action on his part motivated his comrades and they took no notice of the treacherous terrain and charged onto the enemy and wrested the area Flat Top from the hands of the enemy.

Rifleman Sanjay Kumar displayed most conspicuous gallantry, cool courage and devotion to duty of an exceptionally high order in the face of the enemy.[6]

Controversy[edit]

In 2010 Kumar was demoted from the rank of Havildar to Lance Naik.[7] The army refused to cite any reasons for his demotion. Moreover, the army concealed the facts by continuing to refer to him as Havildar in press releases. Recipients of the Param-Vir Chakra are saluted irrespective of rank, which is alleged to be the bone of contention between Kumar and senior officers.[7] Kumar was offered a job by the Himachal Pradesh Government, and may accept this offer after completing his 15 years service (for receiving post retirement benefits) in the army.[7]

On 2 July 2014, Sanjay Kumar became a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the Indian Army, with his promotion to Naib Subedar. While the promotion of Sanjay Kumar had once become an issue in the Army after he was allegedly demoted to the rank of Lance Naik from the rank of Havildar in 2008, the issue was later buried with the intervention of higher authorities. It was also stated that there are no out-of-turn promotions for recipients of gallantry awards in the Army and they are promoted as per their seniority with their fellow soldiers in the unit.[1][2]

In popular culture[edit]

Kumar's story along with others who were part of the same conflict was portrayed in the film LOC Kargil, in which his character was played by famous Bollywood actor Sunil Shetty.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes
Citations
  1. ^ a b "NDTV Video, at 21:37 Sanjay Kumar is shown to be a Naib Subedar". NDTV. 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b Sura, Ajay (2014). "15th anniversary of Kargil War becomes extra special for brave heart Sanjay". Times of India. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Param Vir Chakra Winner of Bilaspur (H.P.)". hpbilaspur.gov.in. 2013. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  4. ^ "SANJAY KUMAR | Gallantry Awards". gallantryawards.gov.in. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  5. ^ "15th anniversary of Kargil War becomes extra special for brave heart Sanjay - Times of India".
  6. ^ The Param Vir Chakra Winners (PVC), Official Website of the Indian Army, retrieved 28 August 2014 "Profile" and "Citation" tabs.
  7. ^ a b c Dutta, Anshuman G. (27 January 2010). "Double demotion for Kargil hero". Mid Day. Retrieved 18 February 2014.

References[edit]