Bhubaneswar: Captain Ashutosh Kumar of the Madras Regiment is among the six Indian Army personnel who was honoured with the Shaurya Chakra on August 15, 2021.
Capt Kumar, an alumnus of Sainik School, Bhubaneswar, is the only among them who received the prestigious award posthumously, on the occasion of platinum jubilee of the country’s Independence ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
The young Indian Army Captain was laid down his life fighting for his motherland at the LoC on November 8, 2020, barely 20 days after his 24th birthday.
Sidhewar Nayak, a Teacher at Sainik School, Bhubaneswar said, “Demonstrating unparalleled courage and exceptional devotion to duty while making the supreme sacrifice, Late Captain Ashutosh Kumar has lived up to the motto of the NDA, ‘Service before self’. So his name got inscribed in golden letters with full military honours on the ‘Sacred Hut of Remembrance’. His martyrdom will continue to inspire future generations of NDA cadets.”
During Nov 2020, Capt Kumar’s Unit 18 Madras was deployed in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir close to the line of control (LOC). The Unit troops were engaged in counter-insurgency operations on a regular basis at its AOR (Area of Operation) was affected by active militancy. The LOC remained high active and volatile with ceasefire violations occurring very often and without any warning.
Besides manning the forward posts in Machile sector in Kupwara District Capt Kumar’s Unit also undertook operations to check the infiltration bids as its AOR was prone to infiltration bids was reported by the BSF patrol at around 01:00 hrs near the anti-infiltration obstacle system about 3.5 Kms from the LOC.
As the fire fight escalated the soldiers from 18 Madras along with his team swung into action to foil the infiltration bids and neutralise the militants. The contact with the militants was lost around 04:00 hrs. But was reestablished at around 10:20 hrs as the infiltrator were being tracked by various surveillance devices. Capt Kumar deployed his troops tactically to block the possible escape routes and engaged them aggressively. In the ensuing fierce gun-battle three militants were eliminated.
However during the exchange of fire, Capt Kumar and four of his comrades received gun shots and were seriously injured. Later, Capt. Ashutosh Kumar and two more solders Hav Praveen Kumar and Rifleman Ryada Maheswar were martyred. Capt Ashoutosh Kumar was a valiant soldier and a fine officer who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty at the age of 24 years.
“Captain Ashutosh Kumar was an epitome of petriotism and a role model to the youth and a worthy son of his parents.” The young Capt Ashutosh Kumar belonged to parmanpur village, Madhepura district of Bihar. He is survived by his father Ravindar Yadav, Mother Geeta Devi, and two sisters Khushboo and Anshu.
“He did his schooling from Sainik School, Bhubaneswar in Odisha where he shouldered the responsibility as the school Vice captain and captain are the perfect examples of his leadership right from the beginning. “He was very popular in the school for his performance in academics and extra curricular activities. He was also known for his values like discipline, honesty friendliness and high sense of responsibility,” said Nayak
who was a teacher of two martyrs Late Col B Ashok Babu and Late Capt Ashutosh Kumar.
“Today, the life sketch of this martyr has become an example for the cadets of Sainik School, Bhubaneswar. The teachers praise him as an exceptionally a brilliant cadet and the school topper of his batch, with high scores in CBSE examinations,” Nayak added.
Remembering Capt Kumar, his classmate at Sainik School, Subhajit Dhar, who works as an Agri-Scientist said, “The memories are still afresh. Think of quality a gentleman, and dive into the characters of Ashutosh, you would get it. Be it Studies, Games, Country, Friendships and whatever, you would find him at the top of the list.”
Another classmate, Anurag Anand, a research scholar of psychology said, “He was an exemplary cadet of the SSB. From the very beginning of his studies at Sainik School he won everyone’s hearts by his qualities of friendliness, simplicity, humbleness and diligence. He respected everyone from the teachers to the junior most boys. His journey from an unknown village of Bihar to NDA was exemplary and his sudden demise is a great lose to the entire SSB fraternity.”
Recently the Sainik School, Bhubaneswar authority has named to one of the entry points to the School and SSB Trg zone as Ashutosh-Dwar. His name has been engraved on the stone slabs of the “Martyrs Memorial” of the Sainik School. His classmates have decided to install a statue of Late Capt Ashutosh Kumar at school and the NDA Motivational Cell to be named after him on his first death Anniversary.
The Fallen solder’s father said – “I am sad I have lost my son at young age, but I am proud that he sacrificed his life for the nation. And that’s what he was trained for.”