Arunachal

Arunachal: Confer gallantry award on 1962 War hero Shere Thapa- Tapir Gao

ITANAGAR ( By Pradeep Kumar )- Raising the heroic deeds of 2-Jammu Kashmir Rifles havildar Shere Thapa in Lok Sabha during question hour on Wednesday, Arunachal Eastern parliamentary Lok Sabha member Tapir Gao pleaded for granting gallantry award to him posthumouly.

The Indo-China War fought in Tawang, Subansiri and Wallong sectors. Though Indian Army was unsuccessful in two sectors, but Thapa at Tama Chung Chung ridge in Subansiri sector had killed 79 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) jawans and injured 155 others on 19th November 1962. After his ammunitions were exhausted, the PLA jawan had killed him but buried with respect and left behind a Chinese note on a bamboo plaque in respect.

“The Chinese radio while announcing this next day had hinted that Tahpa;s soul must by wondering in heaven,” Gao said, adding his commanding officer Col (Retd) Amar Patil, now living in Pune, has written to the central Govt in this respect”, to the applause of many members.MP Gao told this over telephone from Delhi.

It is worth mentioning here that MP Gao, on being apprised about Thapa, had called on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on 25.09.20 and submitted a letter requesting him to grant him gallantry award posthumously to the great martyr, as highlighted by this daily on 28.09.20. The minister had assured to study properly to take a final decision.

MP  Gao had enclosed copy of a letter written by Thapa’s commanding officer Patil written to this editor, which reads:

“I would like to bring to your kind attention to the missing glorious chapter of our brave martyr Hav Shcre Thapa (Nol3710603W) of 2 JAK RIF who had killied 155 Chinese Jawans on 18th October 1962 in Upper Subanisiri sector (Tama Chung Chung ridge) of Arunachal Pradesh during 1962 Chinese aggression in Arunachal Pradesh.

“A detailed account of the war history is described by Col (Retd.) Amar Patil, VSM, who had commanded Hav Thapa as 2nd lieutenant at Tahila during 1962 war where he mentions that the great soldier is revered in the area for fighting till death to protect our motherland. Political interpreter Chader Mangha along with many villagers, who carried supplies, arms and ammunition for Thapar’s Army section, were witness to his bravery. The local folklore says that the corpses of Chinese soldiers were so much piled up that the stream (Ngo, source of Subansiri River) failed to carry them. The local people even built a memorial at Taksing in his honour, mentioned Mangha’s daughter. Even the Chinese had respectfully buried and placed a Chinese inscription over his grave praising his bravery.

“As we await information on 1962 Indo-china war, with such conclusive evidences about Hav Thapa, the Government of India should consider awarding gallantry award posthumously to the great martyr. This recognition would go a long way in highlighting the bravery of Indian Army’ across the world.

“I look forward to your kind consideration in awarding gallantry award posthumously to the great martyr”.

 “I am really grateful to you for taking up the long outstanding case of award of gallantry award to Hav Sire Thapa (that is how his name is noted in Army records).His very brave action had saved Subansari sector of Arunachal Pradesh and was the only successful action of our Army while in all other sectors our army was defeated in very humiliating manner. We from 2 JAK RIF will ever remain indebted to you for your honourable initiative. Thanks a lot”.

It was senior political leader and then minister Tanga Byaling, son-in-law of Chader Mangha, had taken this editor to Taksing by helicopter in October 2012 and while returning the chopper was flying over  Tama Chung Chung ridge when he had indicated from where Thapa had killed the Chinese jawans.

Mangha, who died in 1994, was given a commendation certificate by the GoI in recognition of his service to the nation and promoted to the rank of political assistant. He had narrated the entire episode to his daughter Yating Byaling, a resident of Gosing Taying village under Taksing circle of Upper Subansiri district, wife of minister Byaling, who along with the villagers also vouch bravery of Thapa. I was the first to flash the news globally through Asian News International (ANI) on October 19, 2012, highlighting the bravado of the great soldier news – Forgotten Sino-India War hero Shere Thapa is no less

“Thapa was part of a protective patrol of one platoon located near Rio Bridge in the Upper Subansiri valley. On Nov 18, 1962 at 1500 hours, about 200 Chinese troops came in contact with Thapa’s party. Hav Thapa had fought bravely and killed approximately 160 Chinese soldiers before he succumbed to his death.  He delayed the Chinese advance to nearly 72 hour.

The great soldier is highly revered in the area for his gallant act.  To pay the tribute to the legend, guard of honor was given in a wreath laying ceremony in presence of 22 Infantry Brigade deputy commander Col Satyasheel Baber and other dignitaries besides 200 civilians of nearby villages including GBs of Limeking, TCC and Orak. The 15 Sikh Light Infantry paid tribute to Thapa to commemorate his 52nd death anniversary on Nov 16 as the war had ended on Nov 16.

“The first bridge built by the BRO, named after soldier Shere Thapa, with a 600m steep climb….” is the reference about him with picture of his grave found in ‘Secrets of Subansiri, Himalayan Club, recoding the 2005 expedition report by a group of trekkers to famous Buddhist pilgrimage Takpa Shiri; Arunachal Expedition – Takpa Shiri; In Search of Old Pilgrimage Route to Takpa Siri 2005 and India 2005 – Alpine Journal.

If Thapa had won the hearts of Chinese jawans and revered by the locals for his bravery in Tama Chung Chung Ridge, delayed the Chinese advance to nearly 72 hour, according to Indian Army’s admittance, to ultimately sacrifice his life while protecting Mother India, why the Indian Army did not recognize his heroism?

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