Service No : IC-43956
Date of Birth : January 3, 1964
Place of birth : Hamirpur, (HP)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Captain
Unit : 18 Dogra
Arm/Regt : The Dogra Regiment
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Awards : Ashok Chakra
Martyrdom : August 8, 1991
Captain Sandeep Shankla hailed from Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh and was born on 3rd Jan 1964. Son of an army veteran Lt Col JS Kanwar and Smt Manju Kanwar, Capt Sandeep right from his childhood wanted to follow into the footsteps of his father and join the armed forces. He continued to pursue his dream and joined the army after his graduation. He got trained at the prestigious IMA Deharadun and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 14 June 1986 at the age of 22 years.
He was commissioned into 18 Dogra battalion of the Dogra Regiment, an infantry regiment with a rich history of gallantry and battle exploits. After completing his training he joined his battalion and soon honed his field craft skills. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 14 June 1988 and to captain on 14 June 1991.
Kupwara Operation : 08 Aug 1991
During 1991, Capt Sandeep Shankla’s unit, 18 Dogra was deployed in Kupwara of J & K area for anti-insurgency operations. The unit troops were engaged in operations against the terrorists on a regular basis as the unit's area of responsibility (AOR) was active with militancy. The area was also prone to infiltration, which necessitated regular armed patrols to check any infiltration from across the border. The AOR of the unit also spanned over thick jungle and remote rugged mountainous terrain with extreme weather conditions, especially in the winter season. On 8th Aug 1991, Capt Sandeep Shankla’s unit received credible information from intelligence sources about the presence of terrorists in Zafarkhani village in Kupwara district. A decision was taken by the security forces to launch a search and destroy operation to nab the terrorists under the leadership of Capt Sandeep Shankla. Capt Sandeep along with his soldiers reached the suspected area and launched a search and cordon operation. The terrorists fired at the troops on being cornered and challenged. A fierce gun battle ensued thereafter with heavy exchange of fire from both sides.
During the cross fire one of the soldiers got injured and Capt Sandeep realizing the danger to his life, crawled and dragged him to safety while eliminating one terrorist. The other terrorist then lobbed two grenades at Capt Sandeep, but in a rare show of courage, he hurled one of the grenades back at the attackers. However, during this process Capt Sandeep sustained splinter and bullet injuries. But he kept engaging with the enemy till he lost his consciousness. He later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. The operation led by Capt Sandeep resulted in the elimination of 9 terrorists and in addition 22 of them were apprehended. Capt Sandeep was a valiant soldier and a gritty officer who led from the front like a true military leader. Married just 6 months earlier, Capt Sandeep laid down his life at the age of 27 years, in the service of the nation.
Capt Sandeep Shankla was given the nation’s highest peace time gallantry award, “Ashok Chakra” for his outstanding courage, devotion to duty and supreme sacrifice. He is survived by his father Lt Col JS Kanwar (Retd), mother Smt Manju Kanwar and a younger brother.