Service: Army

Last Rank: Subedar Major

Unit: 15 Dogra (DSC)

Arm/Regt : Defence Security Corps

Date of Martyrdom : Jan 03, 2016

Subedar Major Fateh Singh

Subedar Major Fateh Singh was a soldier in the Indian Army belonging to the Defence Security Corps and was a leading champion shooter. Sub Maj Fateh Singh was an accomplished Big Bore shooter and had made Indian proud at the 1st Commonwealth Shooting Championships held in New Delhi in 1995. He had won a gold and silver medal in the Big Bore Rifle event at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships in 1995. He was a mentor and senior member of the Indian shooting team.

 

He retired from the army as a Subedar Major from the 15th Dogra Regiment in 2009 and joined the DSC, a force responsible for the security of various Defence Establishments. Initially, he was posted at the Army College in Mhow, where he was a part of the Army’s Marksmanship Unit for many years. Later in 2013, he got transferred to the unit located at the Air Force Base Pathankot. 

 

Pathankot Attack: 01 Jan 2016

 

On 01 January 2016, the Pathankot Air Force Station of the Indian Air Force was attacked by a heavily armed group. They were disguised in Indian Army uniforms and made use of the tall elephant grass in the Air Force Base for concealing their movement. Upon infiltrating the base, they advanced towards the area where the high-value asset vehicles were kept with an intention to cause the maximum damage. But they were soon intercepted by the Indian security forces. In the ensuing 15-hour gun battle, 4 attackers and two security force personnel from the Defence Security Corps were killed along with one commando of the elite IAF’s special Guard unit.

 

On 03 Jan, Lt Col Niranjan, who was commanding the Bomb Disposal Unit of the National Security Guard (NSG), was martyred during combing operations to sanitize the area for safe movement of troops. The combing operation was conducted jointly by the Army , NSG, IAF, paramilitary forces, and Punjab Police. The operation went on until the 5th of January when the last attacker was reportedly neutralized. In the entire exchange, 7 security personnel, one civilian and 4-6 attackers were killed. The operation launched to eliminate this threat by the India Army was called ‘Operation Dhangu’.

 

On the night 02 Jan 2016 at 0330 hr, five to six heavily armed terrorists entered the lines and opened indiscriminate fire on the troops. On hearing the sound of gun shots Sub Maj Fateh Singh went outside the house to check out and got trapped in the firing by the terrorists. He got wounded seriously and later succumbed to his injuries. Sub Maj Fateh Singh was a brave and committed soldier who laid down his life in the service of the nation. 

  • Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Sports Minister said, “The nation lost one of its foremost big bore rifle shooter & coach, Subedar Fateh Singh when he was martyred while fighting terrorists. Sub Maj Singh was a star performer during the 1st Commonwealth Shooting Championship & won 2 gold & 1 silver.I salute Subedar Major Fateh Singh”.
  • Parent body of shooting National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) condoled the death of the former India international who lost his life while fighting for his motherland. Raninder Singh, NRAI President said, “He was a thorough gentleman and great athlete. He worked as an active member of Indian shooting team. It is a very sad day for us. He sacrificed his life for the country. I condole his death”. “The country has lost its beloved son and a sharp shooter. May Almighty grant peace to the Great Soldier. The Shooting fraternity pray for the departed soul and hope the Almighty give strength to the family of this great soldier to bear with their irreparable loss”.
  • Sub Maj Fateh’s daughter Madhu:“Papa left around 2 am as his duty was to start at 3 am. After we heard the shots we got up and came out and started looking for Papa. An Air Force personnel asked us to go inside as the firing was very close to our room and told us that some terrorists have entered the air base. We went inside and hid under the bed… Not knowing that Papa had already fallen to terrorists’ bullets, we kept calling on his cellphone but got no reply”.
  • CK Chaudhury, Singh’s former fellow shooter for the Army:“He was one of the first big bore rifle international shooting medalists in our country. He was an inspiration to all of us. He was like my guru and guardian when we were together a part of the shooting team at the Army Marksmanship Unit in Mhow. He had immense love and passion for shooting”.
  • Suma Shirur, the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and Asian Games medalist shooter said, “Fateh Singh was one of the senior shooters when I started shooting in the 1990s. And he won medals at the international level regularly. 1995 was my debut year in shooting when he won the medals in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Delhi and I remember meeting him at that time. It’s a sad moment for his family and all shooters. We will remember him as a helping and respectable senior”.
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