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 prominent champion shooter. Sub Maj Fateh Singh was a legendary 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 medal in the Big Bore Rifle Three Position and silver in Big Bore Rifle Prone Position at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships in 1995. He was a 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. Initially, he was posted in the Army College in Mhow, where he used to practise in the shooting ranges. He was a part of the Army’s Marksmanship Unit in Mhow for many years and had got posted to Pathankot in 2013. 

 

PATHANKOT ATTACK: 02 Jan 2016

 

On 2nd 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 hid in the elephant grass. Upon infiltrating the base, they advanced towards the area where the high-value asset vehicles were kept but were soon intercepted by the Indian security forces. In the ensuing 15-hour gun battle, 4 attackers and two security force troops from the Defence Security Corps were killed along with one commando of the elite IAF’s special Garud unit, on the 3rd.

 

The following morning, on the 4th of January, an explosion killed Lt. Col. Niranjan of the anti-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) during combing operations, and two others were injured. Shortly after, another explosion was reported. Five National Investigation Agency officials reached the airbase. Combing operations were conducted and the army, NSG, IAF, paramilitary forces and Punjab Police were all involved.

 

The operation went on until the 5th of January when the last attacker was reportedly neutralised. 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’. Sub Maj Fateh Singh lost his life in this tragic incident. He fought bravely and did not fear the enemy. He proved his love for his country and has shown his patriotism in the most inspiring way. He is survived by his daughter, Madhu and two sons, Nitin and Gurdeep. This courageous soldier will never be forgotten and  will always be saluted for his ultimate sacrifice.

  • “He was a very good shooter and was active in the sport till recently. He also used to train young shooters at the AMU whenever he got time,” AMU commanding officer Colonel Lalit Sharma told TOI.
  • “He was a talented shooter and it is sad to hear about the news ,” Col. Sharma said. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh condoled the death of Singh.
  • Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Sports Minister:“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:“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 medallists 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:“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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