Service No : JC-413798Y
Date of Birth : December 5, 1977
Place of birth : Bilaspur Dist, (HP)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Subedar
Unit : 4 Para (SF)
Arm/Regt : The Parachute Regiment
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Awards : Kirti Chakra
Martyrdom : April 5, 2020
Subedar Sanjiv Kumar was born on 05 Dec 1977 and hailed from Dehra village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. He completed his schooling from HP board of School Education Dharamshala and then joined the Army on 30 Aug 1996 at the age of 18 years. He was recruited into 4 Para (SF) battalion of the Parachute Regiment, an elite infantry Regiment well known for its daredevil para commandos and numerous bold operations.
After completing his training he served in various operational areas and had a stint with the National Security Guard (NSG) too. By the year 2020, Sub Sanjiv Kumar had put in over 20 years of service and evolved into a battle-hardened soldier and a very dependable junior commissioned officer of the unit.
Operation Rangdori Baihk : 01-05 April 2020
During Apr 2020, Sub Sanjiv Kumar’s unit was deployed in the Kashmir valley for counter-insurgency operations. Sub Sanjiv Kumar in his fairly long service had taken part in numerous challenging operations and had gained substantial experience in counter-insurgency operations. Based on the information from the intelligence sources about the infiltration attempt by the terrorists in the Kupwara district, the security forces launched “Op Rangdori Baihk” on 01 Apr 2020. A movement had been noticed near the LOC on 1 April 2020 through drone imagery. This was confirmed on the ground with footprints in the snow not far from the Line of Control. This was followed by a brief exchange of fire with the soldiers of 8 Jat battalion after which the terrorists fled abandoning some of their bags containing ammo. At dawn on 02 April, troops from 41 and 57 Rashtriya Rifles too joined the operation. The troops once again established contact with the terrorists at about 4.30 pm. However the terrorists engaged in heavy fire before slipping off from a ledge. The chase continued, with contact established twice more on 03 and 04 April. It was then decided to launch Para commandos by dropping them by air near the suspected area. Sub Sanjeev Kumar became part of this operation launched by the 4 Para(SF) battalion. Based on the information gathered through UAVs(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) of the Army intelligence network, the operation was planned on 04 Apr 2020 to foil an infiltration attempt in the Karen sector. Sub Sanjeev Kumar was tasked to lead that operation along with a team of para commandos. As the suspected area was snow-covered and inaccessible the assault team was planned to be airdropped to integrate an element of surprise too in the operation.
The two squads with six soldiers each of the elite para commandos led by Sub Sanjiv Kumar were airdropped by ALH -Dhruv Helicopter in the suspected area as planned in poor visibility conditions. The Dhruv helicopter dropped them off on a hill feature in waist deep snow. The team immediately set off for their mission, wading through 8-10 feet of snow. After nearly five hours, the lead scout Ptr Chhatrapal Singh noticed suspicious movement and alerted his team. After confirmation by the second scout, Ptr Bal Krishan about the presence of two terrorists, Sub Sanjiv Kumar quickly deployed his two squads tactically to close in from two sides. One squad was to attack from the front, while the other squad was tasked to climb onto the nearby heights and open fire as the support team when required. As Sub Sanjiv Kumar signaled his men to fire, heavy firing erupted at the terrorists sitting at the tree roots. But taking advantage of the darkness and thick foliage, the terrorist managed to escape. Tracking their movements further, it became clear that the terrorists had been cornered into a part of Kupwara’s dense Zurhama forest lower down the hill feature.
Finally a contact with the terrorists was established in the evening. Sub Sanjiv Kumar along with his squads then tried to close in with the terrorist location. However, the soldiers realized too late that they were on an ice cornice, which was an overhanging mass of hardened snow at the edge of a mountain precipice. It broke under their weight and the leading scouts Ptr Chhatrapal Singh and Ptr Bal Krishan fell into a frozen mountain stream, right into where the terrorists were hiding. They were mercilessly fired upon by the terrorists. Sub Sanjiv Kumar along with his buddy immediately surged ahead into the nallah to rescue them. While his buddy provided covering fire, Sub Sanjiv unmindful of his personal safety, under intense fire from the terrorists evacuated one of the scouts from the contact site. He then moved forward to retrieve the other scout when he came under intense fire from the hiding terrorists. Realizing the imminent danger to his squad members, Sub Sanjiv Kumar charged towards the hiding terrorists and neutralized one terrorist at very close range. Thereafter, Sub Sanjiv Kumar in a daring act crawled towards the other terrorists and engaged them in hand-to-hand combat seriously injuring them. In the intense close-quarter fight that ensued, Sub Sanjiv Kumar sustained a gunshot wound from which he later succumbed. Sub Sanjiv Kumar, Ptr Chhatrapal Singh and Ptr Bal Krishan succumbed to their injuries and were martyred in the battle zone itself. The other injured soldiers were airlifted to a nearby military hospital but they too succumbed to their grievous injuries and were martyred. Besides Sub Sanjiv Kumar the other martyred soldiers included Hav Devendra Singh, Ptr Bal Krishan, Ptr Amit Kumar, and Ptr Chhatrapal Singh.
Sub Sanjeev Kumar was a valiant soldier and an inspiring junior commissioned officer, who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty. Sub Sanjeev Kumar was given the nation’s second highest peace time gallantry award, “Kirti Chakra” for his outstanding courage, devotion to duty and supreme sacrifice. Sub Sanjeev Kumar is survived by his wife Smt Sujata.
The citation for the ‘Kirti Chakra’ awarded to him reads :
On 04 April 2020, Subedar Sanjiv Kumar was the leading Squad Commander of the Special Forces detachment which was heli-dropped in Keran Sector to intercept and eliminate an infiltration track of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists.
After being heli-dropped in the General Area of Rangdori Spur, Subedar Sanjiv Kumar along with his squad began to track the foot trails of the infiltrating terrorists. After wading through waist-deep snow for over five hours, his squad homed on to the likely location of the terrorists. As the squad was discreetly closing in towards their target, the leading scouts of the squad stepped on an ice ledge which gave in and both the scouts fell into the nallah, where hiding terrorists opened indiscriminate fire injuring both scouts. Subedar Sanjiv Kumar along with his buddy immediately surged ahead into the nallah to rescue them. While his buddy provided covering fire, Subedar Sanjiv unmindful of his personal safety, under intense fire from the terrorists evacuated one of the scouts from the contact site. He then moved forward to retrieve the other scout when he came under intense fire from the hiding terrorists. Realizing the imminent danger to his squad members, Subedar Sanjiv Kumar charged towards the hiding terrorists and neutralized one terrorist at very close range. Thereafter, Subedar Sanjiv Kumar in a daring act crawled towards the other terrorists and engaged them in hand-to-hand combat seriously injuring them. In the intense close-quarter fight that ensued Subedar Sanjiv Kumar sustained a gunshot wound from which he later succumbed.
Subedar Sanjiv Kumar sacrificed his own life in the highest tradition of the Indian Army.