Citing the Pulwama terror attack, President Ram Nath Kovind Tuesday praised the valour and sacrifice of security forces in protecting the country and its citizens. Forces such as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been playing a pivotal role in checking separatism and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
"The valour and bravery with which CRPF personnel faced the terrorists, who attacked the Parliament (in 2001), have become part of the legend of the country's security forces. CPRF personnel have played an appreciable role in checking separatism and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir," he said during a remembrance service at the National Police Memorial here.
The service marks the annual 'Valour Day' of the CRPF which remembers the gallant fight back by its personnel at the Sardar post in Gujarat's Rann of Kutch against Pakistani troop on this day in 1965. The president paid tributes to police and paramilitary personnel killed in the line of duty, including the 40 CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
He laid a wreath at the memorial, a 30-foot-tall and 238-tonne black granite structure, which was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 21 last year on police commemoration day. Kovind said a pall of gloom had descended on the country after the Pulwama attack."People queued up to pay their respect to their (the CRPF personnel) sacrifice. I on behalf of the whole nation paid my deepest respect in remembrance of those brave hearts," he said.
Police personnel have always been alert and active to ensure the safety of the people, and have shown extraordinary commitment towards the nation, he said. This is for the first time that the president has visited the memorial located at Chanakyapuri here.
Kovind, the supreme commander of the armed forces, was accorded a "national salute" and presented a guard of honour by a joint column of troops from all the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) such as the CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF and SSB. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba; Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Rajiv Jain; Director of CRPF, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar; and other officials from paramilitary forces, police and the Union Home Ministry attended the event.
In 1965, CRPF troops were posted on border-guarding duties and the Sardar post-event is mentioned as a glorious chapter in the country's military history when only two companies (about 150 personnel) of the force stood their ground and repulsed a Pakistani brigade attack. The force was tasked to secure the post seeing the aggressive posturing of the other side and the location was at a flat area, which was tactically disadvantageous to troops.
On the intervening night of April 8 and April 9 in 1965, 3,500 men of the 51st Infantry Brigade of Pakistan, comprising the 18 Punjab Battalion, the 8 Frontier Rifles and the 6 Baluch Battalion, had stealthily launched a simultaneous assault on the Sardar and Tak posts under an operation code-named "Desert Hawk". The combat lasted 12 hours, during which the Pakistanis made three attempts to overrun the Sardar post, but were repulsed with heavy casualties by some dare-devil action of the CRPF men.
The retaliation by the CRPF personnel saw the numerically superior and better-armed Pakistani side retreating the areas and leaving behind 34 bodies of their soldiers, including two officers. Four Pakistani soldiers were taken captive while six CRPF men made the supreme sacrifice and the post was saved. The over three lakh personnel-strong force remembers all its slain men by observing 'Valour Day' on this day every year.
(With inputs from agencies.)