Service No : IC-47700Y
Date of Birth : June 8, 1966
Place of birth : Rohtak, Haryana
Service : Army
Last Rank : Major
Arm/Regt : The Madras Regiment
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Awards : Shaurya Chakra
Martyrdom : October 23, 1997
Major Sajjan Singh Gahlawat hailed Kheri Sadh village in Sampla Tehsil of Rohtak district in Haryana and was born on 08 June 1966. Son of Shri Umrao Singh Gahlawat, he had two brothers as his siblings. He did his schooling from Sainik School, Kunjpura in Karnal district of Haryana. While studying in the Sainik School (Batch -1976-83) his inclination towards the Armed Forces grew and the foundation of his future military life was laid. His resolve to join the Army grew with the age and consequently, he got selected for the prestigious NDA after finishing school. He later went to IMA Dehradun and was commissioned as a Lieutenant on 11 Jun 1988 at the age of 22 years. He was commissioned into 9 Madras of the Madras Regiment, an infantry Regiment well known for its dauntless soldiers and numerous battle exploits.
He soon evolved into a committed soldier and a fine officer with superior field-craft skills. Besides being a tough soldier he was very affable and caring which endeared him to his peers and subordinates as well. After putting in few years of service he got married to Ms. Kamlesh and the couple had a daughter Sunaina and a son Lovedeep. By 1997, he had put in around 9 years of service and had been promoted to the rank of a Major.
Surankot Operation : 23 Oct 1997
During Oct 1997, Maj Sajjan Singh Gahlawat's unit 9 Madras was deployed in the Poonch district of J&K. As the AOR(Area of Operation) of the unit was infested with militants, the troops had to undertake counter-insurgency operations on a regular basis. Surankote town falling in the unit's AOR between Rajauri and Poonch had become one of the gateways for militants to enter the Kashmir valley, often undetected. The militants often crossed the Line of Control (LOC) between Poonch and Krishna Ghati at night and before day break reached Surankote or the villages around which had gradually become safe havens for them to remain in hiding during the day. On 23 October 1997, Maj Gahlawat’s unit received intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in Sangilian village, near Surankote at Poonch district. After assessing the situation a decision was taken to launch an operation under the leadership of Maj Sajjan Singh Gahlawat, who was functioning as a Company Commander. As planned, a cordon and search operation was launched on 23 Oct 1997, in the suspected area to eliminate the hardcore militants hiding in the village.
While Maj Gahlawat along with his company was carrying out search of the village, he was fired upon by militants from a hideout, in which one Havildar of his company was seriously injured. He then with absolute disregard to personal safety unflinchingly advanced in the hail of bullets and lobbed a hand grenade in the hideout killing two militants. After rescuing the injured soldier, Maj Gahlawat dashed to another hideout, lobbed another grenade eliminating two more militants. Maj Gahlawat, on the war cry 'Veer Madrasi, Adi kul, Adi kul, Adi Kul' led the charge on the group of militants. During hand-to-hand close combat that ensued, Maj Gahlawat was grievously injured but kept engaging the militants till all his men were extricated to a safe position. Maj Gahlawat was evacuated to the Field Hospital but he succumbed en-route and was martyred. Maj Sajjan Singh Gahlawat was a valiant soldier and an officer par excellence who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty following the highest traditions of the Indian Army. Maj Sajjan Singh Gahlawat was given the gallantry award, “Shaurya Chakra” for his extraordinary courage, leadership and supreme sacrifice.
Major Sajjan Singh Gahlawat is survived by his wife Smt Kamlesh Gahlawat, daughter Sunaina and son Lovedeep. Carrying forward the legacy of their father, his daughter as well as son joined the Armed Forces. His daughter Sunaina got commissioned into the Army Service Corps of Indian Army while his son Lovedeep, was commissioned into the Indian Air Force.
The citation for "Shaurya Chakra" awarded to him reads:
On October 23, 1997, it was gathered from the intelligence inputs that some militants were hiding in Sangilian village, near Surankote, in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. Major Sajjan Singh Gahlawat, the company commander in the 9th Madras, was tasked to flush out and apprehend militants. While Major Gahlawat along with his company was carrying out search of the village, he was fired upon by militants from a hideout, in which one Havildar of his company was seriously injured. Realizing grave danger to the Havildar and to his other comrades who were caught in the open, Major Gahlawat in a daring move dashed to engage militants from a flank, so that the injured Havildar could be rescued and evacuated. He then with absolute disregard to personal safety unflinchingly advanced in the hail of bullets and lobbed a hand grenade in the hideout killing two militants. After rescuing the injured Havildar, Maj Gahlawat dashed to another hideout, lobbed another grenade killing two more militants. Finding no way out, the militants came out and in sheer desperation faced the Madrasis of Madras Battalion, boldly led by a Jat from Rohtak district out in the open. Major Gahlawat, on the war cry 'Veer Madrasi, Adi kul, Adi kul, Adi Kul' led the charge on the group of militants. During hand-to-hand close combat that ensued, Maj Gahlawat was grievously injured but kept engaging the militants till all his men were extricated to a safe position. The remaining militants hiding in the hideout fled for safety. Immediately, Maj Gahlawat was evacuated to the Field Hospital but the brave heart succumbed en-route due to fatal injuries on the vital organs and excessive loss of blood.
For his bold leadership, outstanding camaraderie and supreme sacrifice in taking the highly indoctrinated militants head on, Major Sajjan Singh Gahlawat was awarded the Shaurya Chakra, posthumously.