Indian security forces and policemen keep the war on fear going even at the cost of their lives. As many as 334 soldiers have died in areas under AFSPA;733 terrorists have been killed in J&K since 2016.
Defence is the Best Offence
The surgical strikes and the Balakot bombings redefined India as a muscular nation with an Army ruled by democracy unlike Pakistan’s democracy, ruled by its Army.
This year marked 20 years of India’s last war, Kargil. Lachit Bora, an Army jawan posted at Katihar in Bihar, cannot forget it.
Then an eight-year-old boy, he had lost his cousin, Pradip Gogoi, in battle. “Memories of the war keep coming to my mind, on every Independence Day.”
Assam has history with the Army; it saw massive mobilisations of troops in the 1990s when insurgency was at its peak. “Not everyone can become a soldier. It’s hard but I am enjoying it,” Bora sums it up.
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There are stone-pelters and there are true patriots. Almost a year after terrorists abducted and killed Kashmiri jawan Aurangzeb in Pulwama, his brothers—Mohammad Tariq and Mohammad Shabbir—joined the Indian Army.
Aurangzeb is from a military family. His father, a former sepoy in the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, said, “I have dedicated my six sons to the country.”
Aurangzeb’s eldest brother, Mohammed Qasim, has completed 12 years of service and is serving in the Valley. In September 2018, Territorial Army soldier Mukhtar Ahmad Malik was visiting his village in Kulgam when terrorists barged into his house and shot him; he had just returned home to attend the funeral of his son who died in an accident a few days ago.
According to police data, the J&K police had the highest number of casualties in two decades: 37 policemen were killed in militant attacks last year.
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Hero in Khaki
As the military fights enemies on the borders, the police fight crime within. Delhi, which has been scarred by gang wars of late, found a new hero in constable Naresh Kumar.
As gunfire erupted suddenly near the Dwarka Mor metro station last month, he realised civilians could be caught in the crossfire between rival gang members.
Kumar dived for cover behind a Metro pillar, and brought down two gangsters with his pistol and forced the rest to flee.
The 49-year-old cop initially thought the firing was over a kidnapping. But it was over splitting the proceeds from a land-grabbing plot.
Yadav comes from a family of cops in Najafgarh. He was aghast at the temerity of the criminals.
“Gundon ke hausle toh buland hi hote hain (gangsters are brazen). They had full faith in themselves, despite knowing that a PCR was parked a few metres away.” The fight lasted barely four minutes, but Yadav swears it was the longest four minutes of his life.
“I’m happy I did something for my city and my country,” he says.