Service No: IC-57556H
Date of Birth : Sep 9,1974
Birth Place: Palampur, (HP)
Last Rank: Captain
Service Years: 1996 - 1999
Unit: 13 JAK Rif
Arm/Regt: The J & K Rifles
Operation: Op Vijay
Awards: Param Vir Chakra
Date of Martyrdom : Jul 7, 1999
Captain Vikram Batra was born on 9th September 1974 in Ghuggar village near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. He received his primary education from his mother, Jai Kamal Batra who was a teacher and later on, received his middle school education at the D.A.V Public School, Palampur. He completed his senior secondary education in Central School, Palampur and after passing his second PU in 1992, he got admitted in the D.A.V College in Chandigarh. While in college Capt Batra joined NCC and was awarded the best NCC Cadet (Air Wing) in the zone.
In 1996, he was selected to join the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun in the Jessore Company of Manekshaw Battalion and was commissioned into 13 JAK Rifles. He was later promoted to the rank of Captain during the Kargil War of 1999.
Kargil War: 1999
During the Kargil war, then Lt Batra of 13 JAK Rifles, and his Delta Company were ordered to recapture one of the most arduous and crucial peaks, peak 5140 on June 19. At a height of 17,000 feet, he and his men planned to approach the hill from the rear, so as to take his enemies by surprise. They ascended the rocky cliff but as they neared the top, the Pakistani defenders pinned them on the face of the cliff with machine gun fire. Undeterred by this, Lt Batra and five of his men climbed up and after reaching the top charged two grenades at the machine gun posts. He alone killed three soldiers in close combat and despite being badly injured during the exchange, he regrouped his men and continued the mission.
After a long battle, many enemy soldiers were killed and 13 J&K Rifles won a decisive victory. His courage inspired his men to charge the enemy positions and on 20th June, they captured Point 5140. ‘Chankya …it’s Shershah reporting!! We’ve captured a post! Yeh Dil Maange More!’ Captain Vikram Batra told his commanding officer after securing point 5140 (Tiger Hills), which later on became the catch-line for the Kargil War.
Capt Batra had led a successful operation on one of the most difficult and toughest campaigns in the mountains. The victory paved the way for a string of victories at Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and Three Pimples. Capt Batra led his men to victory with the recapture of Point 4750 and Point 4875. The victory, later on, led to the fall of Tiger Hill and the Indian hold on the valley was strengthened. The entire nation celebrated the success and his men swore by him. General Ved Prakash Malik, the then Chief of the Army Staff, called to congratulate him. The victory was being screened and applauded on television screens all over the country. Photographs of him and his men striding the captured Pakistani gun at the base camp made it to every newspaper. They called him Sher Shah (Lion King) and he became the face of the Kargil War.
Nine days after the victory at Peak 5140, Capt Batra led his men on an urgent and dangerous mission to recapture peak 4875. It was a rescue mission to recover an injured Subedar. The peak was treacherous at 16,000 feet and was having a climb gradient of 80 deg. Moreover, the Pakistani troops sat above the peak and the intense fog further made the mission much more difficult. The enemy got wind of Capt Batra’s arrival. They knew who Sher Shah was and by now his military prowess had become the stuff of legend. Capt Batra and another young officer, Lt Anuj Nayyar, fought the enemy’s counter-attack ferociously. They cleared enemy bunkers, egged their men forward, engaged in a hand-to-hand combat and forced the Pakistanis to retreat.
The mission was almost over when Capt Batra ran out of the bunker to rescue another junior officer who had injured his legs in an explosion. His father had reportedly said, “His Subedar begged him not to go and said he would go instead, but Vikram told him: ‘Tu baal-bacchedar hain, hat ja peeche’ (You have children, step aside). As he attempted to save the young lieutenant, a bullet pierced through his chest. He breathed his last, saying the words, ‘Jai Mata Di’.
His bravery, patriotism, compassion for his men and devotion to his motherland were a few of the trademark qualities of this brave soldier who fearlessly gave his life for his country. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his courage, steadfast resolve, and fearlessness. His saga of bravery is truly inspirational and he continues to be a ‘Sher Shah’, a title that will remain legendary in the military history of Kargil war.
The citation for the Param Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:
In Dras Sector, the enemy held strong fortified positions, heavily reinforced with automatic weapons, with treacherous approaches dominating Srinagar-Leh Road, the lifeline of supplies to Leh.
On 20 June 1999, Captain Vikram Batra, Commander Delta Company, was tasked to attack point 5140 during Operation Vijay. Captain Vikram Batra, with his company, skirted around the feature from the East and maintaining surprise reached within the assaulting distance. The officer reorganized his column and motivated his men to physically assault the enemy positions. Leading his men from the front, the officer in a daredevil assault pounced on the enemy and killed four intruders in a hand-to-hand fight.
On 7 July 1999, in yet another operation in the area of Point 4875, the company of the officer was tasked to clear a narrow feature with sharp cuttings on either side and heavily fortified enemy defences, that covered the only approach to it.
In order to speed up the operation, the officer decided to assault the enemy positions along a narrow ridge. Leading the assault, he engaged the enemy in a fierce hand-to-hand fight and killed five enemy soldiers at point blank range. In this action, Captain Batra sustained grevious injuries. Despite the serious injuries, he crawled towards the enemy and hurled grenades clearing the position. Leading from the front he rallied his men and pressed on the attack and achieved a near impossible military task in the face of heavy enemy fire with utter disregard for personal safety. The officer, however, succumbed to his injuries.
Inspired by this display of extraordinary junior leadership, the troops fell upon the enemy with vengeance and annihilated them, finally capturing Point 4875.
Captain Vikram Batra, thus, displayed the most conspicuous personal bravery and junior leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy and made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Army.
Capt Batra’s Quotes:
Mrs. Kamal Batra, the mother of Capt Batra’s words:
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