TODAY -

Lived across LoC

Kamal Baruah *

  Map of India Pakistan



They are most soothing & relaxing holiday inside Shikara Ride and what's more, the Skiing at Gulmarg added sublime experience. Will Kashmir remain the Paradise on the Earth? We were in Race Course at RD Parade 90 and had plan Kashmir valley someday. On Jan 25, 90, militants indiscriminately fired upon unarmed Air Force personnel in Srinagar that injured 40 and 2 casualties.

Kashmir unrest had begun. JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik and others were accused. The Parade successfully concluded. We were ready for new place of postings. Upon hearing a blow on the whistle, we assembled at parade ground.

Defence is known for its good order. And like a disciplined soldiers, we fell in. We were at military posture 'Attention' standing upright with an assertive and correct posture; chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in, arms fixed at the side, eyes front, heels together with the toes apart. We all were deployed for QRT (Quick Reaction Team) by Air HQ order.

All of a sudden, the entire flight went dispirited. We reached Jammu Transit Camp on the next day. It is the point of joining for Armed Forces including Para Military. There were tens of thousands of soldiers waiting for the battle at LOC.

The barracks were over crowded. Soldiers are not allowed to move. No train tracks were there in that inhospitable terrain. The only flight IL76 can't accommodate all. After a fortnight halt the convoy finally moved with hundred vehicles.

It was another battle that required persistence courage throughout Jammu Srinagar Highway. With destination unknown yet soldiers have determination, euphoric joy and brightness for new assignment. They got will power and continue fighting till the end of war. Life is all about the moment of victory that is to offer for their motherland.

Military camouflage is a form of military deception. Vehicles camouflaged while travelling together accompanied by armed troops and warships. We slowly moved across hills and vales adventuring its scenic splendour, snow-capped mountains and abundant wildlife.

Now the people of Kashmir valley face threat, uncertainty, violence and fear of terrorism from Islamist terror groups namely LeT, Jaish-e-M and Hizbul Mujahideen. Crisis of Kashmir is not just about Hindu-Muslim separatism.

When India got Independence, there were hundreds of principalities. Nizam of Hyderabad opposed to join and India sent Army to bring under its union. In Kashmir, the King wanted to be Independent. Pakistan sent Army to invade Kashmir.

Raja Hari Singh requested India to help. Nehru refused but with the intervention of Sheikh Abdullah, of National Conference finally agreed with the understanding that India gives autonomy to Kashmir except Defence, Currency and Communication. And Bidhan Sabha will make own Constitution, Sadar-A-Riyasat and Prime Minister. India could able to send Pakistan back from Kashmir, but one part (POK) remains with them.

Then Governor General Lord Mountbatten advised India to raise the issue at United Nation Assembly. UN asked both the countries to withdraw Army from Kashmir valley and to conduct referendum. Ironically, Pak-India did not agree and public opinion call also not followed.

Article 370 made Kashmir to fall under India. Communal forces put pressure for Independent state. PM of Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah started talking with US and China. India govt put Kashmir PM jail for 17 years. People got unhappy and terrorism flourished.

Pakistan helped separatists and misused them by US in Afghanistan. Al Qaida terrorists were helped to intrusion to India. India sent massive military deployment after separatism becomes terrorism. In 80s, communalism pressurised Kashmiri Pundits to live the valley.

Governor BK Sinha ordered to form Amarnath Shrine Board that hurt the people of Kashmir. The question remained unanswered today Does Kashmir need to give independence? Or the path of peace will fall again. And our convoy finally reached Srinagar after nine hours.

At WEU we carried out monitoring military activities through SW HF Receiver of POK at Bhimbar, New Mirpur, Kotli, Rawala Kot, Kathai, Keran, Muzaffarabad, Kel, Gullari. After two years of hard toil round the clock QRT Readiness, Combat Emergency, Dett Camp at Line of Control Akhnur, Naushahra, Rajauri, Punch, Uri, Baramula, Kupwara, Sonamarg, Dras, and Kargil, we received choice posting.

India kept facing war since independence. Army launched Operation Trishul Shakti against a large Pakistani assault to protect the Bahadur post, Chulung in Siachen. On August 1, 1992, Pak helicopters were attacked by an Indian IGLA Missile and Commander Brig. Masood Navid Anwari and other accompanying troops were killed. That triumph led IAF to form an IGLA Squadron and tall guys of RD Parade were recalled for missile formation at Ladakh region.

Another life of a soldier has begun. They might get wounded, broken but they always stand tall out of fear. The roads at snow-capped mountains were not motorable. We landed Leh in the morning. Owing to the presence of mountain winds in the afternoon, airfield operation take place in the forenoon.

It is India's highest commercial airport at 10,682 ft above mean sea level. The airport has one of the world's most scenic approaches located between the Mountain ranges of Himalayas. The rivers are the backbone of Ladakh and places such as Shey, Leh, Basgo, and Tingmosgang are situated close to those small rivers. We swam ashore easily at the lonely river originating Mansarovar Lake.

Developed in 80s during Cold War, man-portable IGLA is the most sophisticated Missile the Soviets ever made. The surface to air missile had been used in war such as Gulf, Yogoslav, Bosnian, Iraq, Chechen, Somali, and Afghan etc. But this missile boosts terrorism war later. And our livelihood also had begun with IGLA squadron.

Although military planes have sophisticated defence systems, the IGLA is not easily jammed electronically. Thus passenger planes are very vulnerable. Later US built Stinger missiles used against Soviet Union during Afghan war.

IGLA was not as accurate as Stinger. But Chechen separatists shot down a Russian helicopter in 2001. It was a joy of firing with 20 kg Missile sounding sonic boom at the lonely valleys at land of high passes. We swarmed across the hills with shoulder launched missile.

Kashmiriyat have slowly fallen apart by separatism. Bedanta ke mulya, Suphi Siksha and Buddha Dharm ke Siddhanta are now divided. The tranquillity of the surreal clean blue water at Pangong Lake catches breathtaking silence.

We experienced the wonder at Magnetic Hill that the phenomenon defies gravity at Srinagar Leh highway. The unforgiving Siachen Glacier and life of Army at defending world's highest battlefield are beyond imagination.

The Indus flows abundantly from Ladakh that something divine stays close to our heart. But LoC at Gilgit-Baltisan-Dras-Poonch witnessed mortars, artillery shelling and bullets today. Our neighbour used cross border infiltration and terrorism that led another conflict after Pulwama. We lived across the mountain at Kashmir and Ladakh then.


* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a resident of Guwahati and can be contacted at kamal(DOT)baruah(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 03, 2019.



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