Service No : IC18790
Place of birth : West Bengal
Service : Army
Last Rank : Major
Unit : 15 Rajput
Arm/Regt : The Rajput Regiment
Operation : Op Cactus Lily
Martyrdom : December 4, 1971
Major Ashok Kumar Ghosh hailed from West Bengal and was born in a military family. Son of an army veteran, he also wanted to join the Armed Forces like his father and other brothers (His one brother JC Ghosh joined the Army and another brother Ashutosh joined the IAF). So following his passion eventually he joined the army as a commissioned officer. He was commissioned into the 15 Rajput Battalion of the Rajput Regiment, an Infantry Regiment with a long history of gallantry and battle honours. He soon developed into a tough soldier and fine officer who commanded respect of his seniors and men as well.
After serving for few years, he got married to Ms Reena and the couple had a daughter Nilanjana, affectionately called Tutul. By the year 1971, he had been promoted to the rank of Major and had served in varous challenging operational areas. In the year 1971, Maj AK Ghosh was serving as an Instructor in a BSF formation in Gwalior. However he joined back his unit in the later part of 1971 when the war clouds appeared on the horizon and his unit 15 Rajput got deployed on the western front.
Battle of Fazilka (Indo-Pak war): 03-04 Dec 1971
During Indo-Pak war in 1971, Maj AK Ghosh’s unit 15 Rajput was deployed in the western sector under the operational control of 67 Infantry Brigade. As war broke out with Pakistan on the 3rd of December, 1971, the Pakistani army entered some 7 kilometers deep into Indian territory through the Sulemanki border, overcoming the resistance put up by our troops in the village of Beriwala, Gurmi Khera and Pakka, near Fazilka town of Punjab. In order to stop the advance of the enemy, Indian Army launched the counter offensive with 15 Rajput along with 4 Jat and 3 Assam battalions. In the night of 03 Dec 1971, B and C battalions of 15 Rajput were tasked to cross the bridge on Fazilka canal and attack Pakistani bunkers suspected to be in dense forests. Maj AK Ghosh was functioning as 'Company Commander' of B battalion at that time and led his troops in the attack.
However the Indian Army suffered major reverses during the battle and the troops had to demolish twenty three bridges in the area to prevent the advance of the enemy forces. As a result many troops who had ben wounded in the fighting got trapped and Maj AK Ghosh is believed to be one of them. Later he was declared "Killed In Action", but he is believed to have been captured and taken prisoner, as his body was never found.
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 Maj AK Ghosh in Pakistani Jail. Later his brother Warrant Officer Ashutosh Ghosh during his search for his brother found many leads/evidences that gave credence to the fact that Maj AK Ghosh was being kept as a POW in Pakistan. He even went to Pakistan in 1983 as part of a delegation of NOK(Next of Kin) of missing soldiers, but it yielded no result. Subsequently his daughter Nilanjana also joined the search for her father and took up the matter with varous authorities. Pakistan, however never acknowledged the presence of Maj AK Ghosh in a Pakistani jail. Presently, Maj AK Ghosh’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.