Service No: 15139118Y
DOB: 03 June 1980
Place of Birth : Ramanathapuram (TN)
Last Rank: Havaldar
Unit: 81 Med Regt
Arm/Regt: The Regiment of Artillery
Operation: CI & IS Ops
Date of Martyrdom : 15 Jun 2020
Hav K Palani was born on 03 June 1980 and hailed from Kadukkaloor village in Ramanathapuram district of Tamilnadu. Son Shri Kalimuthu and Smt Logambai came from a humble family of farmers. An active sportsman during his school days, he always aspired to join the armed forces since his childhood. Eventually, after completing his schooling, he joined the Army at the age of 18 years on 29 April 1999. He later completed his graduation while is service through distance education. After putting in a few years of service, he got married to Ms.Vanathi Devi and the couple had a son Prasanna and a daughter Divya.
Besides being a committed soldier, he was a family man and diligently shouldered his responsibility towards all family members including his brother and sister. By 2020, he had put in around 22 years of service and had served in various operational areas with challenging work conditions. Ironically his family finally had moved into their own house in Kazhugoorani (Ramanathapuram district ) in June 2020, just few days before his martyrdom.
Operation Snow Leopard : 15 June 2020
During June 2020, Hav K Palani’s unit was deployed in eastern Ladakh close to the Line of Actual Control(LAC) as part of Operation Snow Leopard. Since early June the tension along the LAC was building up due to construction work in Galwan valley close to the road going from Leh to Daulat Beg Oldie. The Chinese had a serious objection to the construction of a bridge across the Galwan river into the Aksai Chin area. The area held strategic importance to India as well as China as it dominated the road from Leh to Daulat Beg Oldie an airstrip of great military significance to India. There had been many rounds of talks between senior military officials from both sides to diffuse the tensions. On 15/16 June 2020 night, hectic Chinese activities were noticed across the bridge in Galwan valley and the Indian Army decided to take up the matter with Chinese forces to ask them to respect the LAC and adhere to the position as agreed earlier during the talks.
Considering the gravity of the situation, Col Santosh Babu the Commanding Officer of 16 Bihar battalion deployed in the area decided to lead the negotiations. However, an altercation during the discussion raised the tempers leading to a scuffle. Soon the scuffle turned into a violent clash with the Chinese soldiers attacking Col Santosh Babu and his men with deadly clubs and rods. The Indian soldiers were greatly outnumbered and the Chinese soldiers seemed to be prepared for the attack. As the clashes escalated, Hav K Palani and other soldiers joined the beleaguered Indian troops to take on the Chinese soldiers. The clashes went on for many hours during which many Indian soldiers including Hav K Palani got seriously injured. Hav K Palani, the CO, Col Santosh Babu, and 18 other soldiers later succumbed to their injuries and were martyred. The other brave hearts included Nk Deepak Kumar, Nb Sub Mandeep Singh, Nb Sub Nanduram Soren, Nb Sub Satnam Singh, Hav Bipul Roy, Hav Sunil Kumar, Sep Ganesh Hansda, Sep Ganesh Ram, Sep Chandan Kumar, Sep CK Pradhan, Sep Gurbinder Singh, Sep Aman Kumar, Sep Kundan Kumar, Sep Rajesh Orang, Sep KK Ojha, Sep Jai Kishore Singh, Sep Gurtej Singh, and Sep Ankush. Hav K Palani was a valiant and dedicated soldier who laid down his life in the line of his duty. Hav K Palani was given the gallantry award, “Vir Chakra” on 26 Jan 2021 for his exceptional courage, devotion to duty and supreme sacrifice.
Hav K Palani is survived by his father Shri Kalimuthu, mother Smt Logambai, wife Smt Vanathi Devi, son Prasanna and daughter Divya.
The citation for the ‘Vir Chakra’ awarded to him reads:-
Havildar (Gunner) K Palani was deployed in Galwan Valley (Eastern Ladakh) as part of Operation SNOW LEOPARD. On the night of 15 June 2020, the individual was part of a patrol of 16 BIHAR tasked to establish an Observation Post. In a close hand to hand fight, he fought valiantly and saved his subordinates from the aggressive action of the enemy soldiers. Suddenly, the adversaries outnumbered and encircled him. With utter disregard to his personal safety, he stood bravely and tried to defend his comrades even when the enemy attacked him with a sharp weapon injuring him seriously. His act of valour inspired other fellow soldiers to fight fiercely and resist enemy aggression. In spite of his grievous injuries, he continued to hold his ground resolutely and in the finest traditions of the Indian Army, laid down his life for the motherland.
In recognition of his act of bravery in face of the enemy, courage, and supreme sacrifice, Havildar K Palani is awarded “VIR CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)”.
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