Param Vir Chakra (PVC) Captain Vikram Batra

Captain Vikram Batra; the brave-hearted man was honoured posthumously, by the Indian Military’s highest gallantry award the; Param Vir Chakra for his indomitable courage and brave actions during the Kargil War 1999. He was born on September 9th in Ghuggar village near Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. His father’s name was G.L Batra and mother’s Jai Kamal Batra. His mother was a teacher thus Vikram got his primary education from his mother only.

Then further he did his schooling up to the middle standard from D.A.V Public School in Palampur and Senior Secondary education in the Central School of Palampur. He passed out from the school in the year 1992 after which he got admission in D.A.V College, Chandigarh. He took B.Sc. as the subject of study and got selected in N.C.C Cadet (Air Wing) during his graduation. In the year 1996, Vikram Batra was selected in the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun in Jessore Company of Manekshaw Battalion and was commissioned as the Lieutenant of the 13 Jammu & Kashmir Rifles at Sopore. Further he was promoted to the rank of Captain.

Captain Vikram Batra rose like a great hero in the Kargil War who sacrificed his life for the sake of his motherland. The country and the Indian Army have given him tribute in many forms such as a hall was made in the name of Captain Vikram Batra at the SSC (Service Selection Centre Allahabad 19 SSB) namely; the Vikram Batra Block. At the IMA, the combined cadet’s mess was named after his name as the Vikram Batra Mess. Also a residential Area in the Jabalpur Cantonment is known as the Captain Vikram Batra Enclave. Capt. Vikram died on 7th July 1999 at the age of 24.

Kargil War, 1999

On 1 June 1999, Captain Vikram Batra along with his unit moved to the Kargil area due to the urgent war-like condition in Kargil. On June 20th 1999, Capt. Vikram 13 JAK Rifles and his Delta Company was commanded to move forward to the Drass and Batalik sub-sectors where he was sent on the first strategic and daring operation to recapture the first peak of great significance; Point 5140, that was at an altitude of 17,000 feet. Captain Vikram Batra was popularly known by the nickname; Sher Shah that means the (‘Lion King’) in Hindi language. He was called by this name because of being an epitome courage and bravery. And this is what he displayed during the Operation Vijay, he made a strategy to advance and lead from the rear, as this would be enough shocking and misleading for the enemy and also so that the enemies do not get time to get prepared for further attack.

Capt. Vikram and his crewmen climbed up the arduous rock-cliff, but as soon as the Indian crewmen reached closer to the enemy, the enemy targeted them on the face of the bare cliff with machine gun fire. Captain Vikram, despite of the gun firing climbed up the cliff and reached the top, along with his five of the crewmen he fired two grenades at the machine gun post. Capt. Batra unassisted killed three of the enemy soldiers in a hand-to-hand combat. By that time he was himself severely wounded but he rather decided to step up and continued to group up his crewmen to accomplish the operation. Nothing could block the high spirit of the crewmen of the 13 JAK Rifles, thus they being inspirited attacked the enemy troop and finally captured Point 5140 at 3:30 a.m. on 20 June 1999. Delta Company was believed to have killed at least eight Pakistani soldiers and recovering a heavy machine gun.

The capture of Point 5140 was indeed a great success for Capt. Vikram Batra and his company. On July 7th, 1999, Capt. Batra was given orders for another operation in the area Pt. 4875, in which his company was given the task of clearing a narrow feature with razor-sharp edges on either sides and heavily guarded by the enemy defences. In order to accomplish the task with a faster pace, Captain Batra advanced over the enemy’s position through a narrow ridge and hooked the enemy in a fierce hand –to-hand combat. He then and there killed five enemy troopers. Being unmindful of his serious injuries, Capt. Vikram Batra crawled towards the enemy and fired grenades in order to clear out that very position. He moved from the front side of the enemy and assembled his men to charge the attack on the enemy.

Captain Batra accomplished a nearly impossible military mission despite of the serious wounds and intensely guarded enemy and the firing. Captain Vikram Batra ultimately succumbed to his injuries. But his daredevil and invincible courage inspirited his crewmen so much that they fell upon the enemy with vengefulness and demolished them and captured the Point 4875.

Captain Vikram Batra, thus, for his bravery and magnanimous leadership was honoured with the Param Vir Chakra on 15th August, 1999; the 52nd Anniversary of India’s Independence. MR. G.L Batra received the award on the behalf of his late son from the President of India, late K.R Narayanan.

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