Going to Heaven: It’s a heavenly feeling7 p.m: The wireless set crackled. The signal officer of the Battalion received the message. He immediately passed on the message to the Commanding Officer (CO) of the Battalion. The CO called me and briefed in detail. A group of five terrorists were hiding in a remote village on the lap of the Pir Panjal range. He gave all details available with him and ordered me to proceed. The mission was to eliminate the terrorists.
The Quick Reaction Team (QRT) was ready in less than five minutes. I was leading the platoon. The entire team started the journey in two Jongas. The village was located at a distance of around 20 kilometer from the Battalion Headquarter, but the problem was the narrow approach road to the village. The sound of the Jongas would reach the terrorists. So, I ordered the members of the QRT to stop the Jongas at a distance of one kilometer from the village. Thereafter we proceeded on foot.
In the approach road we met the Field Intelligence Officer (FIO). He had been waiting for us. He accompanied us and guided us to the house where the terrorists were hiding.
My jawans in the QRT had been training for such situation for more than one year since their induction in the Counter Insurgency (CI) loop. All of them were battle-ready. But the house was located at one corner of the village with dense forest surrounding it. We had to approach from the front. There was no other way. The entrance door was narrow and only one person could pass through that door at a time.
How could I put my men in danger? I personally led the assault. I knocked at the door. A rough voice asked my name. I knocked for the second time. A volley of bullets from AK-47 greeted us. All of us ducked for cover. Now the real game started! I hit the door with the bayonet. Another volley of fire! I ordered the Subedar standing next to me to fire the rocket launcher to break open the entrance door. He did the same. The door was broken. As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), I threw a stun grenade. Taking the opportunity of flash and loud sound of the stun grenade, all members of QRT entered through the broken door. A militant was in the first room, he started shooting from his AK-47. A bullet hit me on my shoulder but I shot him back. One enemy less!
I was bleeding; the Subedar asked me to get evacuated, I refused. All of us went to the first floor taking the wooden stairs. A volley of fire greeted us. We returned the fire. Suddenly, a grenade was thrown at us. It again hit me in my legs. I stopped moving. The Subedar took charge. He led the soldiers after the terrorists. I took an LMG and started giving cover fire to my soldiers. In the operation lasting ten minutes, all the terrorists got killed. Mission successful!
My colleagues, my jawans took me out. Now I am lying under the vast blue sky full of stars. I am lying on the lap of Mother India. My brothers-in-arms are standing beside me. My life is ebbing out. But I am not feeling any pain.
I am going to heaven. It's a heavenly feeling.
(Competition entry for Topic for TOW contest)