Place of birth : Assam
Last Rank : Lieutenant
Unit : INS Venduruthy
Arm/Regt : Indian Navy
Operation : Indo-Pak War 1971
Awards : Nao Sena Medal
Martyrdom : September 26, 1971
Lt Samir Das belonged to a middle class family of Calcutta but was born in Assam. Later he went to Banaras Hindu University (BHU) for higher studies and completed his post graduation in Geology. Besides having interest in academics, he was a keen sportsman and became a state-level football player. He joined Indian Navy in April 1966 as a commissioned officer. Within short span of time, he qualified as a 'Ship Diving Officer' in 1968. In the following year when the Indian Navy started conducting Clearance Diving Officers (CDO) course, he got selected for the course and qualified as CDO.
Later he was sent for Long Mine Clearance Diving Officers (LMCDO) course with Royal Navy in the UK. During the LMCDO training, Lt Samir Das was attached to HMS Vernon at Portsmouth. As an accomplished football player, he had the distinction of representing HMS Vernon in Intra Royal Naval Football Championship. As a fine officer and sportsman, he earned the appreciation of his instructors and peers as well. He completed LMCDO with a high grade and returned to India to join as an instructor at Naval Diving School in Cochin at INS Venduruthy. In the year 1970, he was awarded the prestigious ‘Nao Sena Medal’ for his contribution to diving operations and his meritorious service.
East Coast Naval Operations : Apr-Sep 1971
During 1971, Lt Samir Das was serving at INS Venduruthy, Indian Naval base located on Willingdon Island in Kochi. It was the largest training establishment of the Indian Navy housing the Diving School, Navigation & Direction (ND) School, Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) School, Signal School and host of other support facilities. In early April 1971, eight Bengali submariners of Pakistan Navy escaped from France via Spain to New Delhi with the help of Indian authorities. They were part of the team sent for commissioning a new Pakistani submarine being acquired from France. These submariners pledged their loyalty to the Bangladesh government and expressed their desire to join the Mukti Bahini. At that time, a decision was taken to train the submariners as naval commandos in the Jamuna River near Delhi. Lt Das, as the Naval Diving School instructor, was tasked to join the naval commando training camp in Delhi to run the newly formed training centre.
In the middle of April 1971, Indian and Bangladesh forces decided to expand the training facilities for the naval commandos. There were hundreds of young men who were excellent swimmers from the rural areas of Bangladesh who could be trained as naval commandos. Lt Samir Das along with Lt Vijay P Kapil under the leadership of Commander MNR Samant visited Diamond Harbour, Sundarban areas and Plassey. Lt Samir Das played a key role in the selection of the training areas and preparation of the training program. Plassey, near the Bhagirathi River, was selected as the training centre. The site was found suitable for training as it was located in an isolated area, which allowed for training on explosives and small arms.
By July 1971, Lt Samir Das had completed training of a number of batches of naval commandos. He also undertook a number of reconnaissance missions with the Mukti Bahini officers on future operation plans. The making of detailed operational plans necessitated frequent meetings with operational commanders. On 26 Sept 1971, Lt Samir Das went to attend one such meeting with Commander 101 Communication Zone Major General Gurbax Singh Gill and Commander of Sector 7 Major Nazmul Haque, at Silliguri in West Bengal. However when Lt Samir Das and Major Nazmul Haque were returning to Maldah at night, their vehicle met with a horrific accident. Lt Samir Das and Major Nazmul Haque suffered grievous wounds and soon succumbed to their injuries. Lt Samir Das was a committed soldier and an officer par excellence, who laid down his life in the line of his duty. Lt Samir Das relentlessly worked to train and motivate young Mukti Bahini naval commandos and transformed them into professional naval commandos. These Mukti Bahini naval commandos conducted a large number of successful operations all over Bangladesh and created havoc with the Pakistani forces. These operations along with other Army and IAF operations finally culminated in the liberation of Bangladesh.