Whenever there is talk of India’s war with China or Pakistan, then there is talk of heroes who laid down their lives to protect their country. One such hero was Thapa. Whose martyrdom is still waiting to be honored. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu tweeted earlier this year, “We know very little about Havildar Shere Thapa of the Indian Army, who single-handedly retaliated by Chinese forces in the Upper Subansiri sector during the 1962 war. Had given.”
Chief Minister Khandu had tweeted this after unveiling a statue of the unsung hero Thapa. Even after 60 years of war, Thapa’s martyrdom has not been recognized by the central government. According to official records, Thapa of the 2nd Battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles of the Indian Army alone killed 79 Chinese soldiers and injured several others in a battle in the Subansiri sector of Arunachal Pradesh in November 1962. Thapa’s Commanding Officer-Second Lieutenant Amar Patil, who retired as a colonel, said that this martyr, lost in the pages of history, has not been recognized even after 60 years.
demand for gallantry award
Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal-East parliamentary constituency Tapir Gao had met Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi in September last year and submitted a letter requesting him to confer a posthumous gallantry award to Thapa. Born in Nepal in the year 1928, Thapa served in the JK Regiment Special Force from December 27, 1945 to December 31, 1956 and joined the Indian Army on January 1, 1957. Later he was appointed as a platoon sergeant under Subedar Sher Bahadur.
Retired colonel Patil said, “Thapa was deployed on a protective patrol on the Tama Chung Chung ridge near the Rio Bridge in Upper Subansiri district to cover the routes from the Sino-India border.” Patil said, “On November 18, 1962, around 200 PLA (Chinese Army) soldiers infiltrated through Tama Chung Chung Ridge and attacked a protective patrol of 2-JAK RIF. Havaldar Thapa was monitoring the border on the mountains. He retaliated, in which many Chinese soldiers were killed on sight. He kept firing continuously without eating anything. His body lay there for three days.”
Bodies of Chinese soldiers piled up
Patil said the bodies of Chinese soldiers were piled up during the fighting. Retired Colonel Patil said, “When the firing from the Chinese side stopped, Thapa came out of his bunker. But death awaited them. An injured Chinese soldier opened fire, killing Thapa.” He said Thapa’s heroic action kept the Chinese troops from moving forward for 72 hours. “In the fighting, more than 70 Chinese soldiers, including a senior officer, are said to have been killed,” Patil said. The retired colonel said that Thapa may not have received any award, but his bravery is remembered and respected by the local people.
Patil said the constable’s family consists of a wife and two children, but little is known about where he lives. The Indian Army later built a memorial near the Rio Bridge as a tribute to the brave soldier. Khandu had unveiled his statue in January near Thapa’s memorial near the Rio Bridge between Limking and Nacho. But his martyrdom is yet to be recognized by the central government.
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