Service No : IC23148
Place of birth : Himatnagar Dist(Guj)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Captain
Arm/Regt : The Assam Regiment
Operation : Op Cactus Lily
Martyrdom : December 5, 1971
Captain Kalyan Singh Rathod hailed from Chandarni village in Himatnagar city in the northern part of Gujarat. Son of a magistrate Shri Hari Singh Rathod, Capt Kalyan was the youngest of four siblings. After completing his education he joined a private firm in Pune along with his brother Dilip Singh. Later he got selected to join the Army as a commissioned officer. He was commissioned into the 5 Assam Battalion of the Assam Regiment, an Infantry Regiment with a rich history of gallantry and battle honours.
By the year 1971, he had been promoted to the rank of Major and had gathered experience of serving in various challenging operational areas. In the year, 1971 he was serving in Hyderabad but when the war clouds appeared on the horizon his unit got deployed on the western front.
Battle of Chhamb (Indo-Pak war): 04-05 Dec 1971
During the 1971 war, Capt KS Rathod's unit 5 Assam was deployed in the western sector under the operational control of the 191 Infantry Brigade commanded by Brigadier Jasbir Singh. The unit played an important role in the 'Battle of Chhamb'. 191 Inf Bde was functioning under the overall control of 10 Infantry Division commanded by Major General Jaswant Singh. Besides the resources of 191 Inf Bde, 10 Inf Div had combat elements of 28 Infantry Brigade(Responsible for the Defence of Hills Sector in the North), 52 Infantry Brigade(Responsible for the Defence of Jaurian Sector, East of Munawar Tawi), 68 Inf Bde (Corps Reserve) and 10 Div Artillery Brigade. Capt KS Rathod's unit 5 Assam was operating along with the units of 191 Inf Bde which included 5 Sikh (Mandiala Battalion), 4/1 GR (Munawar Battalion), 10 Garhwal Rifles (Munawar Tawi East/ Chhathi Tahli Battalion), ‘A’ Squadron(Sikh) 9H, 57 Battalion BSF, ‘C’ Company 12 Guards (ATGM), ‘A’ Team of 9 Commando Battalion (Para), 81 Field Regiment (Artillery), 12 Field Regiment less Two Batteries, 127 Locating Battery (Artillery) and Company ex 61 Engineer Regiment with effect from 30 Nov 71.
The Indo-Pak war of 1971 officially commenced on 03 Dec 1971 when the Pakistani Air Force attacked various airfields of the IAF. Within hours after the air attack, Pakistan’s 23 Division opened Artillery fire with all its nine Regiments along a 30-40 Kms front in the Chhamb sector. Soon thereafter a well-coordinated attack with armour was launched on the 191 Brigade, which was the only Brigade of 10 Division of Indian Army defending the area west of the Munawar Tawi river at that time. 5 Assam was part of the 191 Brigade and was given the task of blunting the Pakistani attack. Capt KS Rathod’s company was occupying a key position for the defence of Chhamb, when the enemy launched an attack on the night of 04 December 1971.
The attack continued throughout that night and thereafter for sixteen hours but Capt Rathod and his troops held on gallantly and thwarted the enemy’s advance. However as the position was of strategic importance to the enemy, it launched another battalion attack on the 5th morning, preceded by heavy artillery fire. Capt KS Rathod who was functioning as a platoon commander of B Company of 5 Assam was deployed in the Barsala village area and his platoon was attacked by a squadron of enemy's 26 Cavalry of 2 Armored Brigade and a company of 19 Baluch/ 4 Punjab. After a fierce fight, Capt Rathod was surrounded by the enemy forces who asked him to surrender, but he replied with a burst of LMG fire. Later he was declared "Killed In Action". But he is believed to have been captured and taken prisoner, as his body was never found.
However, a confusion continued to persist about his death, as some of the Prisoners Of War (POW) lodged in a Pakistani jail, later informed about the presence of Capt KS Rathod in Pakistani Jail. Later his brother Shri Dilip Singh during his search for his brother found many leads/evidences that gave credence to the fact that Capt KS Rathod was being kept as a POW in Pakistan. Pakistan, however never acknowledged the presence of Capt KS Rathod in a Pakistani jail. Presently, Capt KS Rathod’s name features on the official list of the ’54 Personnel Missing in Action’, tabled in the Lok Sabha in 1979 by the then Minister of State of External Affairs Shri Samarendra Kundu.