Service No : 2893847F

Date of Birth : March 1, 1977

Place of birth : Jind Dist (Haryana)

Service : Army

Last Rank : Rifleman

Unit : 2 Raj Rif

Arm/Regt : The Rajputana Rifles

Operation : Op Vijay ( Kargil )

Martyrdom : June 15, 1999

Rifleman Ashish Kumar

Rifleman Ashish Kumar hailed from Ghimana village of Jind district of Haryana and was born on 01 Mar 1977. Son of an Army veteran, Hav Ram Mehar Mahla who was serving in 19 Raj Rif and Smt. Angoori Devi, after completing his initial education, Rfn Ashish Kumar got selected to join the Indian Army on 27 Oct 1997 at the age of 20 years. He was recruited into 2 Raj Rif battalion of the Rajputana Rifles Regiment, an infantry Regiment known for its brave soldiers and numerous battle honours. After serving for some time, he got married to Ms Bimla Devi hailing from Haryana. 

 

Battle of Tololing (Kargil War): June 1999

 

Shortly after the signing of the Lahore declaration in 1999, the Pakistan Army surreptitiously occupied the winter vacated posts of the Indian Army. On 03 May 1999, these intrusions were detected and on 26 May 1999, the first air-to-ground strike was launched by the Indian Airforce (IAF), followed by Operation Vijay, by the Indian Army to evict the intruders from the Indian areas. The army quickly mobilized its forces to drive out the Pakistani infiltrators from Indian territory. Rfn Ashish Kumar's 2 Raj Rif battalion, under the command of Lt Col MB Ravindranath, which was part of 81 Mountain Brigade in the Lolab valley was inducted into the Drass area on 04 June 1999. The battalion was functioning under the command of 56 Mtn Bde, with overall operational control being exercised by 8 Mtn Div under Maj Gen Mohinder Puri. The Tololing Heights was the deepest penetration beyond the LC by the Pakistani intruders. Tololing and another feature named Point 4590 were among the vital peaks for India, as they overlooked the Drass sector and a large section of the National Highway.  The task of capturing the Tololing feature was assigned to 56 Mtn Bde. The Tololing feature comprised Pt 4590, Tololing Top, South East Spur, South Spur, and Hump to its north. Pt 4590 and Tololing Top dominated all the approaches leading to it. As per the plan of attack of 56 Mtn Bde, 2 Raj Rif was tasked to capture the Tololing top by 0600 Hr on 13 June 1999. 18 Garh Rif battalion was to capture Pt 5140 by 0700 hrs on 13 June. Two companies of 18 Grenadiers were to provide a firm base and the balance of the battalion was to act as reserve to 2 Raj Rif.  

 

When the battalion launched the attack on 12 June 1999 at 2030 hrs, Rfn Ashish Kumar was part of the "Charlie Company" team led by Major Vivek Gupta. Despite heavy artillery and automatic fire, Rfn Ashish Kumar and his comrades were able to close in with the enemy. The Company came under heavy fire from all sides as soon as they emerged into the open. After three soldiers of the Company's leading section were hit, the attack was temporarily stalled. Knowing that staying in the open, amidst intense enemy fire would result in further casualties, the troops led by Major Gupta charged onto the hostile position. Inspired by Major Vivek Gupta's Rfn Ashish Kumar and his comrades surged onto the enemy position and captured it. However, during the subsequent mop up operation, Rfn Ashish Kumar got severely injured and later succumbed to his injuries on 15 Jun 1999. Besides Rfn Ashish Kumar, one officer, two JCOs (Junior Commissioned Officers), and six other soldiers of 2 Raj Rif were martyred during this entire operation. The other martyred brave hearts included their leader Major Vivek Gupta, Sub Bhanwar Lal, Sub Sumer Singh Rathore, CHM Yashvir Singh Tomar, Hav Sultan Singh Narwaria, Nk Surendra Singh, Nk Chaman Singh, Rfn Bachan Singh and Rfn Jasvir Singh. 

 

Rifleman Ashish Kumar is survived by his wife Smt Bimla Devi. 

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