Service No : 2648897

Place of birth : Nagaur Dist, (Raj)

Service : Army

Last Rank : Grenadier

Unit : 14 Grenadiers

Arm/Regt : The Grenadiers

Operation : Indo-Pak War 1971

Martyrdom : December 14, 1971

Grenadier Sawai Khan

Grenadier Sawai Khan hailed from Nagaur district in Rajasthan. He joined the Army after completing his initial education and was recruited into 14 Grenadiers Battalion of the Grenadiers Regiment, an infantry Regiment known for its brave soldiers with a rich history of various battle honours. After serving for some time, he got married to Ms Ladan hailing from Rajasthan. In 1971, Gdr Sawai Khan got involved in the thick of operations as his unit got deployed on the western border when the war with Pakistan became imminent. 

 

"Battle of Daruchhian" (Indo-Pak War): 13/14 Dec 1971

 

During the Indo-Pak 1971 War, Gdr Sawai Khan’s unit 14 Grenadiers was deployed on the western front. In December 1971, India had to go to war with Pakistan as the genocide perpetrated by the Pakistani army in their erstwhile eastern part of the country had resulted in an unprecedented influx of millions of refugees into India. Though the war was concentrated on the eastern front, Pakistan launched operations on the western front too. When the war was declared on 03 Dec 1971, 14 Grenadiers Bn under the command of Lt Col Inderjit Singh was functioning under the operational control of 25 Div and was spread all over the Div AOR (Area of Responsibility) from Naushera to Poonch. By the second week of Dec 1971, India had almost achieved victory on the eastern front but the border skirmishes were still going on, on the western front. Gdr Sawai Khan's unit 14 Grenadiers was involved in operations in the "Battle of Daruchhian" during that period. 

 

After the failure of the Pakistani divisional attack on Poonch, the Indian Army decided to carry out local and limited actions all along the ceasefire line to improve its defensive posture. One such attack was launched by an infantry battalion in the area opposite Madarpur on the night of 10/11 December, and having captured Nangi Tekri, Jungle Tekri, Bump and other features denied the use of the Kotli-Madarpur-Hajira road to the enemy. As a follow-up to these operations, it was decided to secure Daruchhian, a feature blocking the Balnoi neck of the Kotli-Balnoi road between the Poonch River and the ceasefire line. Daruchhian was a conical feature, narrow and rugged at the top and with steep projections. It was forested on all sides except the southwest spur and was reportedly held by less than one Pakistani company of regular troops and some Mujahids as part of the main picquet line. 14 Grenadiers battalion under the command of Lt Col Inderjit Singh was tasked to launch an attack on Daruchhian. It was allotted an additional company and artillery support of four to six fire units. 

 

The capture of Daruchhian was planned to be carried out by 0800 hrs on 14 Dec in three phases. It was a multi-pronged attack involving primarily B, C, and D companies of 14 Grenadiers and elements of other outside resources. As per the plan, in Phase-I 'B' Company was to capture OP (Observation Post); in Phase-II 'C' Company was to capture West Spur and in Phase-III 'D' Company was to capture South West Spur. Besides the commanding officer Lt Col Inderjit Singh, Maj HS Chahal ('B' Company Commander), Maj MH Khan ('D' Company Commander), and Capt Hamir Singh('C' Company Commander) as company commanders were involved in planning and executing the operational plan. 'A' Company under the command of Maj SR Dogra was responsible for marking the FUP(Forming up Point) for Pase-I and then acting as a reserve for Phase II. The attack was launched on the night of 13/14 Dec 1971 in three phases with three assault groups attacking from different directions.

 

The enemy gave a very stiff resistance and the battle for Daruchhian continued for over 12 hours. Gdr Sawai Khan and his comrades fought valiantly to give a befitting reply to the enemy firepower. However, he got seriously injured during the exchange of fire and soon succumbed to his injuries. In the fierce exchange of fire, during the battle, a total of eight officers, seven JCOs, and one hundred and forty-five other ranks were martyred, wounded, or missing in action. Besides Gdr Sawai Khan the other martyred brave hearts included six officers (Maj HS Chahal, Maj MH Khan, Maj SR Dogra, Capt OP Dalal, Capt Bakshish Singh, and 2nd Lt GP Bahukhandi), 4 JCOs ( Sub Jai Singh, Sub Taj Mohd Khan, Nb Sub Hasam Khan and Nb Sub Ram Sarup Singh) and 43 ORs. The martyred ORs included CHM Mustaq Ali, CQMH Tej Singh, Nk Baghe Khan, Nk Daulat Khan, Nk Shamsad Ali, L Hav Mahmed Hanif, L/Nk Kutubudin Khan, L/Nk Ajim Khan, L/Nk Arjun Singh, L/Nk Mubin Khan, L/Nk Inayat Khan, Gdr Keshar Khan, Gdr Aladin Khan, Gdr Ast Ali Khan, Gdr Raghbir Singh, Gdr Bhagwant Singh, Gdr Ranjit Singh, Gdr Paras Ram Singh, Gdr Khursed Ali Khan, Gdr Badri Singh, Gdr Hari Ram, Gdr Shamsher Khan, Gdr Mannu Khan, Gdr Umed Khan, Gdr Adittaya Prakash, Gdr Ibrahim Khan, Gdr Haskar Khan, Gdr Mukarab Khan, Gdr Janbed Singh, Gdr Chhotu Khan, Gdr Ata Mohammad, Gdr Kishore Singh, Gdr Tej Singh, Gdr Nibh Singh, Gdr Bhanwru Khan, Gdr Mahphul Khan, Gdr Randhir Singh, Gdr Jai Singh, Gdr Rajendra Singh, Gdr Jor Singh, Gdr Kishan Singh, Gdr Pep Singh and Gdr Agar Singh.

 

Grenadier Sawai Khan was a brave and committed soldier, who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation. Grenadier Sawai Khan is survived by his wife Smt Ladan Khan.

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