Itanagar: During the inaugural ceremony of late Subedar Joginder Singh memorial at Topengla area near the India-China border in Tawang on Friday, his daughter Kulwant Kaur broke down. The valiant hero of the 1962 China War was revered with a bust in a colourful memorial, 58 years after the supreme sacrifice.
During the ceremony, his daughter and family members stood with chest puffed up with pride, and eye wet with memories.
The Subedar was decorated with Param Veer Chakra for his gallantry and giving his life for the country, exactly 58 years ago on this day.
He was the commander of a platoon of the Sikh Regiment holding a defensive position at a ridge near Tongpen La in NEFA. At 5.30 am October 23, 1962, the Chinese opened a heavy attack on the Bum La axis intending to break through to Tawang. The leading battalion of the enemy attacked the ridge in three waves, each about 200 strong.
Subedar Joginder Singh and his men mowed down the first wave, and the enemy was temporarily halted. Within a few minutes, a second wave came over and was dealt with similarly. But the platoon had, by then lost half its men. Singh too was wounded in the thigh but refused to be evacuated. Under his inspiring leadership, the platoon stubbornly held its ground and would not withdraw.
Meanwhile, the position was attacked for the third time. The Subedar himself manned a light machine-gun and shot down a number of the enemy. However, the Chinese continued to advance despite heavy losses.
When the situation became untenable Subedar Joginder Singh and the few men remaining fixed bayonets and charged against the advancing Chinese soldiers, bayoneting a number of them before being overpowered. Throughout this action, he displayed not just devotion to duty, but also bravery of the highest order.
Singh joined the British Indian Army in 1936 and served in the 1st battalion of the Sikh Regiment. During the 1962 Sino-Indian War, he was commanding a platoon at the Bum La Pass in the North-East Frontier Agency. Though heavily outnumbered, he led his troops against a Chinese assault and defended his post until he was wounded and captured. Singh succumbed to his injuries while in Chinese custody. He single-handedly killed more than 50 Chinese men and created history in the Indian Army.
During the inaugural ceremony, Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with Top Army and State Police officials were also present at the occasion. MLA Dirang Phurpa Tsering, MLA Tawang Tsering Tashi, and MLA Lumla Jambey Tashi were also present.